LASIK has technically been around since 1989 when the first patent was granted for the corneal flap method of laser eye surgery. The first LASIK surgery was then performed in 1990. While it wasn’t FDA approved until 1999, it quickly rose in popularity due to its high efficacy, nearly immediate results, and remarkable minor side effects. Since its early days, LASIK has evolved. Today, patients can choose between conventional vs. custom LASIK.

What is the difference between standard and custom LASIK and what are the benefits and potential downsides of each type? Let’s take a look at both procedures, how they differ, and why patients or surgeons might prefer one type over the other.

Why Eye Irregularities Matter When It Comes to Conventional vs. Custom LASIK

If you want to understand the difference between traditional LASIK vs. Custom LASIK, it’s helpful to first understand how your eye works and the types of eye irregularities and vision errors that typically cause vision problems. Your eyes allow you to see when light rays travel through your cornea and your lens, where the light is bent and lands on the retina. Your retina communicates what you see to your brain.

Refractive errors—like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism—result from a misshapen cornea or lens, which keeps the light from bending correctly. This means that the resulting image on the retina ends up out of focus or blurred. Glasses and contact lenses can correct these types of refractive errors relatively well, but cannot correct other irregularities, which can be more subtle or more complex, called higher-order aberrations.

If you have higher-order aberrations, it’s nothing to worry about. No eye is perfect and all eyes will have some sort of irregularity or flaw. However, it’s helpful to know the type of aberrations you have as it will impact the type of vision correction that will work best for you.

What Is the Difference Between Standard and Custom LASIK?

So, what is the difference between traditional vs. custom LASIK? Traditional LASIK, also called conventional or standard LASIK, uses your eyeglass or contact lens prescription as the basis for your vision correction. In standard LASIK, the doctor first performs a reflection test on the patient, holding up several lenses to the eye to see which amount of correction is best. The correction made to the cornea during the surgery is based on the refraction lens the patient reports provides the best correction.

This type of conventional LASIK can reduce the need for glasses or contacts. However, because it doesn’t take other irregularities into account, it can also cause other types of aberrations, particularly for people with more complicated vision issues. While traditional LASIK is pretty good at addressing refractive errors, like your glasses might, it can’t address other higher-order aberrations.

Custom LASIK, on the other hand, works with wavefront mapping technology to create an extremely detailed map of the eye. With wavefront mapping, the doctor can retrieve the eye’s unique “fingerprint.” This shows all of the aberrations of the eye, both lower and higher-order, allowing the eye surgeon to make a precise and personalized treatment plan that addresses all of the aberrations.

Ultimately, this means that with custom LASIK, the doctor not only gets a more accurate picture of the vision problems, but can also create a more precise plan for correction. Custom LASIK uses conventional LASIK as the base, but improves on it from there, providing better results and fewer side effects.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional LASIK vs. Custom LASIK

When it comes time for you to choose conventional vs. custom LASIK, you should weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages. Both procedures have the potential to offer significant vision correction, so it’s a matter of knowing what you’re looking for.

Below, you can see both the advantages and the disadvantages of traditional vs. custom LASIK.

LASIK Type Advantages Disadvantages
Conventional LASIK
  • Highly effective for patients with uncomplicated lower order aberrations
  • Very safe
  • Minimal discomfort
  • Can help candidates achieve 20/20 vision
  • Lower cost
  • Less precise
  • Cannot correct higher-order aberrations
  • Can cause additional aberrations like halos or glare
  • Not everyone is a candidate
Custom LASIK
  • Completely customized to your unique eyes
  • Highly effective for both lower and higher-order aberrations
  • Can help candidates achieve 20/20 vision or better
  • Fewer side effects
  • Fewer flap complications
  • Better night vision improvement
  • More expensive
  • Not everyone is a candidate

While both types of LASIK can provide significant improvement to your vision, custom LASIK is more likely to provide better vision correction in the end. However, you will pay more for this type of personalized treatment. And, as with all types of laser eye surgery, not everyone will be a candidate for LASIK. It’s important to talk to your eye surgeon about any issues that might disqualify you from either of these LASIK options.

Why Patients Choose Conventional vs. Custom LASIK

Looking at traditional LASIK vs. custom LASIK, it might seem as though custom LASIK is the obvious choice. And for many patients, that’s true. But it is helpful to understand why some patients might opt for traditional LASIK instead.

In some cases, patients with a relatively simple, lower aberration prescription can get the vision correction they want with conventional LASIK. When that’s the case, they may not want to spend the additional money on custom LASIK. Additionally, for patients with small pupils, patients with certain corneal scarring, or patients who are unable to relax enough to get a precise wavefront mapping measurement, a custom wavefront procedure won’t be possible. For these patients, conventional LASIK is a great option.

Conversely, patients may opt for custom LASIK, in spite of the higher cost, because of the incredibly precise results. Patients who are concerned about additional aberrations, like glare or halos, or who struggle with their night vision, may want to avoid the potential for additional aberrations. Additionally, the reduced likelihood of flap complications is also a draw. Most importantly, though, if you are a candidate, custom LASIK gives you the best shot at correcting your vision for 20/20 results or better.

Deciding Between Conventional vs. Custom LASIK for You

So, what is the difference between standard and custom LASIK going to mean for you and your eyes? It’s important to consult an experienced eye doctor you trust to help you determine whether you will have a relatively simple visual correction or a more complicated one. While a more complex vision correction procedure would probably be best served by custom LASIK, ultimately, it will come down to your preference.

To effectively decide between traditional LASIK and custom LASIK,you must find an eye surgeon with a decorated history of successful LASIK procedures. They can make an informed recommendation for you and help guide you toward the LASIK procedure that will meet your needs and benefit you the most. If you’re looking for a LASIK center and an experienced eye surgeon, we invite you to come to Dello Russo Laser Vision.

Dello Russo Laser Vision Can Help You Choose Between Traditional vs. Custom LASIK

At Dello Russo Laser Vision, you have access to a team of expert surgeons. Together, our world class LASIK surgeons have performed over 190,000 surgeries in our state-of-the-art facilities. Our experienced eye surgeons are dedicated to remaining at the forefront of the latest technology and techniques. Our office was the first in the United States to use the Intralase laser to provide bladeless LASIK and we were the first LASIK center in the New York area to use custom wavefront mapping to provide personalized procedures. As such, you can trust that our surgeons can provide you with excellent vision results.

We are committed to providing our patients with excellent service, great results, and an easy, stress-free experience. That means we will make sure that you feel informed about which procedure we recommend for you and why we feel it’s best for your eyes. We’ll provide a free initial consultation so that you can discuss your options with one of our eye surgeons and ask any questions you might have. We want you to feel as confident as possible about your LASIK procedure.

Seeking more information about conventional vs. custom LASIK and which option is best for your eyes? Give us a call at (855) 646-2020 or contact us through our website. We can schedule your consultation to get you started on your journey to better vision today. You can improve your vision, and Dello Russo Laser Vision can help you get the best results possible. Check out our patient reviews to hear more about how we’ve helped our customers, or just make an appointment today! We look forward to meeting you.

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