The Eye Laser Miracle: The Complete Guide to Better Vision


Now you can have normal vision all the time, thanks to excimer laser treatment commonly known as LASIK and PRK a painless procedure that takes less than five minutes. Dr. Andrew Caster, one of the leading physicians in laser vision correction, takes you through the entire process including the experiences of patients who have undergone the procedure and their incredible joy at suddenly being able to see again.

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Now you can have normal vision all the time, thanks to excimer laser treatment commonly known as LASIK and PRK a painless procedure that takes less than five minutes. Dr. Andrew Caster, one of the leading physicians in laser vision correction, takes you through the entire process including the experiences of patients who have undergone the procedure and their incredible joy at suddenly being able to see again.

What are the differences between the LASIK, PRK, and RK procedures, and which is right for me?

What are the most common side effects of excimer laser treatment?

How do I judge whether a doctor is sufficiently qualified to perform an excimer laser treatment?

Will the procedure be painful?

When can I fully resume normal daily activities such as driving and reading?

Will eye laser treatment stop my eyes from getting worse?

How well has the FDA monitored this technique?

How many people have successfully undergone the procedure?

The Eye Laser Miracle is the guide for anyone who wants better vision.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two books are amazingly similar in their accounts of the miracle of laser-corrected vision, a minutes-long procedure that gives the nearsighted and those with astigmatism a life without glasses or contacts. (The patient can have the procedure done in street clothes and walk away.) Both authors describe their own experiences as excimer laser treatment patients, presenting in a very readable fashion the conditions that can be treated, possible complications, equipment used, anatomy of the eye, alternative treatments, how to read vision-correction prescriptions, and future expectations. After reading either book, anyone contemplating this procedure will be able to make an informed decision. Caster, a board-certified ophthalmologist, offers additional information, including suggested reading, a list of organizations, and a glossary. Armstrong, president of a marketing communications agency, intersperses her text with helpful charts, photographs, and entertaining quoteseven a testimonial letter from Barry Manilowalthough this reviewer found such tidbits rather distracting at times. Either title is recommended for consumer health collections in public and medical libraries, though very few libraries need both. If price is a factor, the Caster book is definitely the preferred choice.Dixie Jones, Louisiana State Univ. Medical Ctr. Lib., Shreveport
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345443830
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Revised & Updated
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Andrew I. Caster graduated from Harvard University, received his medical education at Harvard Medical School, and his ophthalmology training at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. Today Dr. Caster is in practice in the Los Angeles area with an office in Beverly Hills. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Jacqueline, and their children, Bryce and Jocelyn.

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Read an Excerpt


Seeing well without glasses and contact lenses is the dream of millions of
Americans. Modern medical science has enabled this dream to come true.

Excimer laser surgery is the extremely popular treatment for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and it can permanently eliminate the need to wear glasses or contact lenses for distance vision.
The original version of excimer laser treatment, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), uses a laser beam to reshape the surface of the cornea (the outer layer of the eye) to diminish nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Another kind of excimer laser treatment, LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis), reduces nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by applying the laser treatment to the deep portion of the cornea. Both procedures are quick—usually taking no more than five to ten minutes—and painless. The results, as patients and their doctors will tell you, are impressive.

* Stacy, a forty-year-old music publisher, had been wearing corrective lenses since she was in the sixth grade. For thirty years, she couldn't get out of bed in the morning without putting on her glasses. "As a child,
I would play a game: If I had three wishes, what would they be? 20/20
vision, 20/20 vision, 20/20 vision. It's always been the first thing I
would change about my life." Three weeks after having LASIK, Stacy's vision had improved from 20/800 to 20/20. "Your confidence level goes up,"
she said. "It's not so much the way you look. It's the way you feel. I
feel so good about myself."

* Ted was so nearsighted and astigmatic that he could barely see his hand in front of his face without glasses. Before having surgery, he went sailing with his nine-year-old son. The boom knocked Ted's glasses off. He grabbed them just before they landed in the water. Without them, he couldn't see the shore. That close call convinced him that it was time to get rid of his glasses. LASIK surgery gave him 20/25 vision. "What's dramatic," the forty-eight-year-old teacher said, "is being able to open your eyes in the morning and actually being able to see."

* Ethan, a thirty-two-year-old actor with 20/800 vision, had been wearing contact lenses for years. By the end of the day, his eyes were tired and red. Now that he's had PRK, he has 20/25 vision in the left eye and 20/20
in the right. "It's one less worry in my life," he said. "It's made my life a little less complicated. I don't have to put in contacts or get my glasses. I just feel freer."

* LASIK surgery gave Diane, a forty-five-year-old physician's assistant, a newfound sense of freedom, too. Before LASIK, she couldn't clearly see her feet when she was in the shower. Now she's taking rock-climbing lessons with her twelve-year-old daughter, something she would never do when she had to wear glasses or contacts. "I always believed I was entitled to see well," she said. With 20/30 vision in her left eye and 20/40 in the right,
she finally does. "It's within a person's grasp. It's wonderful that technology has come this far."

However, excimer laser surgery is not for everyone, and it is not risk free. It is also not 100 percent effective for all patients.

Radial keratotomy, invented in 1973, was the first technique used to enable people to see without glasses or contact lenses. Now, over twenty-five years later, dramatically advanced techniques using lasers controlled by computers perform even more accurate treatments. Because of the ease of treatment and the accuracy of results, excimer laser procedures have become one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the
United States. More than one million excimer laser procedures will be performed this year in the United States alone, and a similar number in the rest of the world.

I have written this book to explain to you the pros and cons of excimer laser surgery and to present other information necessary to help you make an informed decision. Part I provides basic information and should be read by everyone contemplating this procedure, Part II provides additional information for those who want to know more, and the Afterword describes my own experience as a patient having excimer laser vision correction.

Part I includes simple background information, the characteristics of a good candidate for excimer laser treatment, and how the procedure works.
Part I also describes the procedure itself, from the presurgical consultation through the postoperative phase. Finally, it points out what results you can expect and what can go wrong.

The last section of Part I answers the most commonly asked questions about excimer laser eye surgery. All readers will find this particularly useful.

Part II is for people who require additional information, a behind-the-scenes exploration. It describes what a laser is, the role of the FDA in evaluating the laser procedure, alternatives to excimer laser treatment, as well as possible future developments.

This book provides the consumer with important background information concerning excimer laser treatment. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information and a balanced viewpoint, but the accuracy of information cannot be guaranteed. When statistics are given, they are usually taken from FDA supervised studies, but multiple studies conducted in different fashions produce varying statistics. The decision to have excimer laser treatment must be based upon an evaluation and critical discussion with your doctor of your specific medical condition, lifestyle,
and desires.


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Excimer laser treatment is a very easy procedure to un-
dergo. No injections are needed, and there is no pain during the procedure. These are the steps you will experience:

1. Your doctor will measure your eyes to determine your amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During this presurgical consultation, your doctor will complete a thorough examination of the health of your eyes and discuss the procedure in detail with you.

2. The excimer laser will be calibrated and tested for accuracy.

3. The correction desired for your eye will be entered into the laser's computer.

4. The computer will determine the specific set of excimer laser pulses to apply.

5. You will be brought into the laser room and asked to lie down.

6. A patch will be placed over the eye not having the procedure.

7. Anesthetic eyedrops will be placed in your eye. No injections or IVs are needed.

8. Your eyelid will be held open with a small speculum, which causes no pain.

9. You will be asked to look at a small blinking light.

10. In LASIK, the flap will be created with the keratome. In PRK, the doctor will wipe away the most superficial layer of the cornea.

11. You will hear a clicking noise, the sound of the laser.

12. The blinking light will get hazy as the treatment progresses.

13. The treatment will usually take less than sixty seconds of laser time.

14. Eyedrops will be placed in your eye. In some cases, a temporary contact lens will be placed in your eye as well.

15. You will sit up and rest for a few minutes before going home. Your stay in the treatment room has lasted about five to ten minutes.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note
Introduction 1
The Surgery Is Easy 7
How Does the Eye Work? 9
Common Vision Problems 11
How Does Excimer Laser Surgery Improve Vision? 16
Are You a Good Candidate? 19
The Presurgical Consultation 21
PRK or LASIK? 25
The Surgical Experience: The Patient's Perspective 29
What to Expect After Surgery: PRK and LASIK 36
How Well Will You See? 45
The Healing Response: The Big Variable 48
Complications: What Can Go Wrong? 52
Retreatments 58
Astigmatism Correction 61
One Eye or Two? 64
How to Choose a Doctor 67
If You Are Over Thirty-Five 69
The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Excimer Laser Treatment 76
What Does "20/20" Mean? 85
What Is a Laser? What Is an Excimer Laser? 90
The History of the Excimer Laser 93
Who Monitors This Technique?: The Role of the FDA 96
Mapping the Cornea: Computer Topography 99
Another Use for the Excimer Laser: Removing Corneal Scars 101
The Future of Laser Eye Surgery 103
Alternatives to Excimer Laser Surgery 108
Radial Keratotomy RK 108
Astigmatic Keratotomy AK 114
Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty ALK 116
Orthokeratology 117
Glasses and Contact Lenses 118
Afterword: My Own Experience as a Patient 119
Other Sources of Information 129
Refractive Surgery Equipment Manufacturers 130
Suggested Reading 133
Glossary 135
Acknowledgments 143
Index 144
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