LASIK ( Laser - in - situ - Keratomileusis ) is the most frequently performed healthcare procedure in North America . LASIK can treat a broad range of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in people at least twenty years of age, who are in good health, and who have no eye diseases.

To see clearly, with normal vision, the light rays must focus directly on the retina.


In a myopic, or nearsighted eye, light rays focus in front of the retina.

Nearsighted Eye

In a hyperopic, or farsighted eye, light rays focus behind the retina.

Farsighted eye

And, in an astigmatic eye, light rays focus at a number of different points.

Astigmatic Eye

LASIK uses a laser to sculpt the shape of the cornea, to bring the light rays to one point on the retina to give clearer vision without the aid of eyeglasses or contact lenses.

LASIK is a wonderful procedure for the right patient. At the Northwest Eye Center , Dr. O'Rourke and her staff perform a thorough pre-operative evaluation to assess whether LASIK is appropriate for you. Every patient is an individual case and treated accordingly. Our pre-operative evaluation entails taking a complete medical and ocular history, refraction to determine the current eyeglass prescription, keratometry to measure corneal curvature, pachymetry to measure corneal thickness, pupillometry , and corneal topography to rule out abnormal corneal shapes that may affect LASIK outcome.

At the Northwest Eye Center we use the Bausch & Lomb Orbscan II corneal topographer. The Orbscan is by far the most accurate topographer on the market and is used by only a few LASIK surgeons in the Denver area. It is more sensitive than most topographers in diagnosing obscure corneal abnormalities such as forme fruste keratoconus , which can result in a poor surgical outcome after LASIK.

If, after the initial evaluation, Dr. O'Rourke determines the patient a good candidate for LASIK, the process begins with the patient discontinuing contact lens wear and returning to repeat all the tests done at the initial evaluation for stability and accuracy. In addition, Dr. O'Rourke performs a full eye exam including refraction, intraocular pressure, and dilated fundus exam.

Every patient is evaluated personally by Dr. O'Rourke pre-operatively and at every post-operative check as well during the one year following the procedure.

Dr. O'Rourke uses the VISX Star S4 laser with tracker. For more information on this laser visit


With Bladeless LASIK, the surgeon uses the laser to create the corneal flap.  This technology allows the surgeon to customize the corneal flap for every individual patient.  In recent studies done by IntraLase, this technology may now make it possible to treat some patients with LASIK who were previously dismissed as candidates due to thin corneas.

IntraLase has other benefits as well.  Studies have shown the incidence of dry eye symptoms may be reduced with Bladeless LASIK.  Many experts suggest that the long term stability of LASIK with Intralase may be better due to the thinner, more uniformly shaped flap.


Application of the cool excimer laser is then directed onto the "bed" of the cornea,
the duration of which is only a matter of seconds.

The flap is then replaced.

Flap replaced


PRK eye surgeryPRK ( Photorefractive Keratotomy ) is another laser vision correction procedure. LASIK is usually preferred over PRK because of the quicker recovery rate. However, PRK has an excellent success rate and may be the preferred procedure in some patients. With PRK , a flap is not created, but rather the laser is applied onto the surface of the cornea, once the outer epithelial cell layer has been removed. Because there is no flap, the outer cell layer must heal before clear vision and comfort is achieved, which may take up to a week. This procedure may be preferred in patients with basement membrane disease , or in patients with thin corneas. That is, in patients who are not candidates for LASIK, PRK may be an option.

With the advent of mitomycin usage in conjunction with PRK , it is now possible to treat higher powers of nearsightedness with PRK than was possible in the past. If you have been told that laser vision correction was not an option for you because of high myopia and thin corneas, PRK may be an option now.


Wavefront technology produces a detailed automated map of your eye. The measurements are 25 times more precise than those used for prescribing glasses or contacts. Therefor, the treatment provided is individualized to your specific visual requirements. Dr. O'Rourke uses the Custom Vue Wavescan technology to gather the information which is then transferred to the VISX Star S4 laser for treatment. Because Custom Vue can measure and correct the unique imperfections of each individual's vision, it has the potential to provide better vision than is possible with glasses or contact lenses.

Not all patients are candidates for wavefront technology. After a lasik evaluation at the Northwest Eye Center , Dr. O'Rourke can tell you if you may be a candidate for this exiciting new technology.

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Accomodative intraocular lenses are lenses that can be inserted into the eye to correct distance vision as well as near vision. The technology is still evolving but appears promising. It is the only procedure thus far that may be successful in giving patients good vision at all ranges, both distance and near after the age of 45. In the aging eye, the lens inside the eye hardens and is unable to accommodate to near vision. Even after laser vision correction an aging patient will need to wear reading glasses to see close.

Inserting an accommodative intraocular lens involves removing the natural lens in the eye, and replacing it with the accommodative lens. This is essentially the same procedure that is used to remove a cataract, which is a foggy lens. Risks and complications are equal to that of cataract surgery.

Dr. O'Rourke has been performing cataract surgery for 15 years and is an accomplished cataract surgeon. If and when the technology of accommodative intraocular lenses has been optimized, she will be offering it to her patients when appropriate.

Assessing what procedure is right for you is a complicated process, and should not be taken lightly. Let Dr. O'Rourke and the staff at the Northwest Eye Center help you decide if laser vision correction is an option for you. Make an appointment with us for a complimentary lasik evaluation, so we can discuss more in depth your options, what risks, complications, or side effects you need to be aware of , and how we can assist you in achieving the vision you desire.

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