Did you know that between 30,000 and 40,000 members of the U.S. military – Army, Navy, and Air Force, in particular – choose laser vision correction procedures to improve their vision each year? Because of the military reliance on excellent vision for mission-critical duty, there is an emphasis on clinical research to investigate the various procedures available to service members to ensure they are both safe and effective. Recently, a relatively new laser vision correction technique, wavefront-guided PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), was the subject of a clinical study by the U.S. Navy.
Wavefront-guided PRK uses the latest computer-generated mapping technology to create a digital image of the individual patient’s eye. This digital map guides the excimer laser applied to the surface of the cornea, reshaping it to improve the eye’s focusing ability, in a correction treatment customized to the unique vision needs of the patient.
The 167 patients enrolled in the clinical study led by the U.S. Naval Medical Center, San Diego included those with vision prescriptions up to -8.0D of nearsightedness and up to -4.00D of astigmatism. These patients all had wavefront-guided PRK to correct their vision and the findings from the research showed:
- Patient satisfaction with wavefront-guided PRK was very high with 98.8% reporting completely or very satisfied with their vision without wearing glasses or contacts
- 99.4 percent of patients tested at 20/20 or better vision six months after the procedure
- Night vision symptoms improved slightly after the procedure, with fewer than 4 percent reporting any experience (slight/moderate) with halo, glare or starbursts at six months post-op
- Less than 1 percent of eyes experienced any adverse event related to the procedure
Impressively, the overwhelming majority of patients tested at better than 20/20 vision. In fact, 91.9 percent of patients achieved 20/16 (better than 20/20) or better vision six months after the procedure. This research adds to the enormous body of evidence supporting laser vision correction procedures like wavefront-guided PRK are both safe and effective.