Contoura® LASIK, or topography-guided LASIK, is a highly customized version of the popular laser surgery. The process for Contoura LASIK involves laser technology that measures 22,000 elevation points on the cornea in order to create a very precise and personalized treatment plan.
While traditional and bladeless LASIK work by reshaping the cornea to allow for proper processing (“bending”) of light, Contoura’s cutting-edge technology allows it to reshape the cornea and correct any surface imperfections on the cornea with great precision.
Because of its advanced data collection and personalized treatment options, Contoura LASIK may be an option for individuals who otherwise would not be candidates for LASIK.
Still, Contoura® is a surgery and not a suitable treatment option for everyone. Issues that may prevent an individual from being eligible for Contoura® include being under the age of 18, having an immune system disorder, or having an unstable vision prescription.
Contoura® LASIK and other topography-guided laser surgery options are also likely to be more expensive than traditional options.
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Key Facts About Contoura® LASIK
- Contoura® LASIK is used to correct refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
- Contoura® LASIK is a topography-guided laser surgery. Advanced laser technology captures detailed images of your eye to create an extremely personalized treatment plan to reshape and resurface the cornea.
- Because of its precision and personalization, some people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for LASIK may be candidates for Contoura®.
- In some research, Contoura® has shown to be very successful not only in treating refractive errors, but also in reducing other vision-related problems like difficulty with night driving, dry eye, glare, and light sensitivity.
What Is Contoura® Vision?
Contoura® LASIK is an advanced and topography-guided version of LASIK.
The company Alcon developed the Contoura® method in 2015, and it was introduced to eye health professionals at an annual conference of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
At the time, Alcon released statistics about Contoura’s efficacy. Findings supported the success of Contoura® in providing patients with the following benefits:
- Accurate vision: More than 92 percent of patients had 20/20 vision or better.
- Better vision: Almost 65 percent of patients had 20/16 vision or better.
- Great vision. Almost 35 percent of patients had 20/12.5 or better.
How Does Topography-Guided LASIK Work?
Light enters the eye through the cornea — the “see-through” part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil. The cornea “bends” this light in order to focus it and transmit it to the retina (the cells on the back of the eye). The retina transmits this light and communicates vision signals to the brain.
If the cornea is irregularly shaped or has imperfections on its surface, it won’t be able to properly send the light to the retina. This is the cause of many common vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Your eye’s surface is as unique as your fingerprint. Each hill and valley is formed by genetics and years of blinking, squinting, and rubbing. Sometimes, those surface issues add to your vision problems.
During a Contoura® LASIK assessment, your doctor maps the eye’s surface at more than 22,000 points using a measuring device called a Topolyzer. During your surgery, the laser collects data on which points are causing vision problems. In a way, the assessment works like a roadmap for your surgery.
During surgery, this advanced roadmap allows the laser to reshape and resurface the cornea with incredible precision and detail, addressing even minor surface issues that may have been missed with another form of treatment.
3 Known Contoura® LASIK Benefits
The potential and benefits of Contoura® are still being studied, as this is relatively new treatment technology. But research already indicates these three important benefits:
- Fewer barriers to treatment: Some doctors worry about performing LASIK on less than perfect eyes. Because Contoura® is guided, it can reduce at least some risks associated with surgery. Some doctors will use Contoura® on eyes they once considered untreatable with LASIK.
- Improved correction and recovery: Mapping and guiding mean your surgeon can remove optical imperfections on your eye’s surface. These are imperfections that could lead to postsurgical symptoms, such as glare, halos, and poor night vision, if left behind. More precise removal of these imperfections provides a better treatment and recovery outlook.
- Minimal tissue removal: People who go through Contoura® procedures have less tissue removed during the surgery when compared to other forms of LASIK.
NVISION is a leading provider of Contoura® Vision LASIK. NVISION surgeons perform more Contoura® treatments than any other center in the western United States. Find out why so many patients choose NVISION.
Is Contoura® LASIK Right for You?
Contoura’s developers released in-depth guidelines about who should and should not get surgery.
You might qualify if you meet these criteria:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- Your myopia reading is -9.0 diopters or less.
- Your myopia reading is -8.0 diopters or less, with astigmatism of 3.0 diopters or less.
- Your prescription is stable.
You may not qualify for surgery if you meet any of these criteria:
- You are pregnant.
- You are nursing.
- You have a weak immune system due to heart or autoimmune disease.
- You have keratoconus or other corneal degenerations.
- You have severe dry eyes.
- You have thin stromal beds (less than 250 microns).
- You deal with recurrent corneal erosions.
- You have advanced glaucoma.
- You have uncontrolled diabetes.
Surgery is not recommended if you have any of these issues:
- Diseases that can impact wound healing, such as insulin-dependent diabetes
- A history of herpes infection
- Severe allergies
- Mild or suspected glaucoma
- A history of taking Accutane
- Unusual results during your preoperative exam
Your doctor may also reject your candidacy after an exam for reasons that are not specified here.
How Much Does It Cost?
On average, LASIK surgery costs anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 per eye. Some doctors charge more or less based on competition from other surgeons in their area.
Remember that Contoura® is incredibly advanced. Your doctor must map the entire surface of your eye and feed all of that data into a computer program. Then, advanced lasers follow that map exactly to optimize your eye. The entire procedure is made just for you based on your exact measurements.
To perform this surgery, your doctor needs the following:
- Equipment: Software and hardware are needed for your surgery.
- Training: Your doctor must learn how to use these tools to improve your vision.
- Time: Your doctor needs to spend additional time with each patient.
While some insurance companies offer discounts or partial coverage on necessary laser surgeries, they may be unlikely to cover the additional costs associated with topography-guided LASIK. Still, talk to your provider about your benefits, coverage, and if any discounts are available.
Some practitioners and vision centers offer financing options as well.
- Phorcides for Contoura. Phorcides.
- How CONTOURA Vision Changes LASIK. Millennial Eye.
- Alcon Introduces Contoura Vision as First Personalized LASIK Procedure at American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting. (November 2015). Alcon.
- Topography-Guided Treatment in Regular and Irregular Corneas. (December 2020). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
- Comparison of Wavefront-Optimized Ablation and Topography-Guided Contoura Ablation with LYRA Protocol in LASIK. (April 2019). Journal of Refractive Surgery.
- Allegretto Wave Eye-Q Addendum Procedure Manual. (2013). WaveLight.
- Average Cost of LASIK & Laser Eye Surgery. (December 2020). ValuePenguin.
- Refractive Errors. National Institute of Health.
- The Use of WaveLight Contoura to Create a Uniform Cornea: 6-month Results with Subjective Patient Surveys. (August 2018). Clinical Ophthalmology.