Advanced Surface Ablation
ADVANCED SURFACE ABLATION
Advanced surface ablation (ASA) is a new term used to describe the next step in the evolution of surface based refractive procedures (PRK, LASEK, etc). There are two main categories of refractive surgery. The first is flap-based procedures like LASIK. These procedures involve the creation of a flap. The different names (LASIK, IntraLASIK, etc) describe the way the flap is created. All of these procedures have a flap, which has certain advantages and disadvantages. Some of these advantages and disadvantages are discussed on this website. Your doctor can review them in more detail with you.
The second main category of refractive surgery includes surface-based procedures (ASA, PRK, and LASEK). These procedures do not have a flap. They too have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. They all involve removing the top layer of cells of the cornea called epithelial cells. The names of the different surface-based procedures are given to differentiate how these cells are removed. For example, with PRK, the cells are brushed or scraped off, and discarded. With LASEK, alcohol is used to separate the epithelial cells from the rest of the cornea. These cells are then rolled back to the edge of the cornea during the LASER treatment, and then rolled back onto the cornea at the conclusion of the procedure. With ASA, a very specialized instrument, called an epi-keratome, is used to separate the epithelial cells from the cornea in a very precise and reproducible way. These cells are then discarded or replaced at the conclusion of the procedure, depending on what the surgeon’s training and preference are. Some research seems to indicate that this method of removing the epithelial cells (with an epi-keratome) expedites healing and minimizes discomfort. However, the visual outcomes are virtually identical to PRK, LASEK and IntraLASIK. Only you and an eye surgeon that is skilled and trained in all of these techniques can together determine which is the best procedure for you. Call the Texas Vision & Laser Center today for an appointment to discuss how we can help you achieve your best possible vision.