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The Next Wave in LASIK

Wavefront LASIK, says ophthalmologist Terrence O'Brien, removes even the most subtle aberrations on the surface of the eye. For information about refractive surgery, call 410-583-2820.

In the years since LASIK surgery first hit the national scene as a way for people to reduce their dependence on glasses, Hopkins ophthalmologist Terrence P. O'Brien has become an expert in performing the laser procedure. These days, though, he's getting better results than ever in improving people's vision. A new technique called wavefront custom-guided corneal ablation is allowing him to reshape the surface of the cornea to correct aberrations that conventional lasers simply miss. Compared to the earlier technique, O'Brien says, the wavefront procedure is like painting spots on a wall with a fine brush instead of a paint roller.

As remarkable as the human eye is, subtle aberrations like astigmatism still produce blurred vision. But beyond these easy-to-spot anomalies, even people with near-perfect vision can have flaws that are nearly impossible to detect. With the new technique, O'Brien captures these patterns, obtaining a precise map of the wavefront pattern of the eye, and even distinguishes "good" waves from "bad" ones. He then programs the patient's individual prescription into the laser and applies a new computerized component called variable spot scanning-his paintbrush-to carry out the customized surgery.

"Rather than just treating a shape, the laser can now carve a lens into the cornea that's customized to the patient's individual wavefront pattern," O'Brien explains. "It gives us the potential to reduce aberrations and even achieve super-normal vision."

-Gary Logan



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