Contoura LASIK is a form of personalized LASIK surgery. While traditional LASIK surgery maps the surface of the cornea, Contoura LASIK takes this to the next level, mapping 22,000 points on the cornea.
This topography-guided laser surgery can result in better outcomes for patients, reducing certain potential side effects of traditional LASIK, such as halos and glare. It can effectively treat nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism.
What Is Contoura LASIK?
Traditional LASIK maps the surface of the cornea, but Contoura LASIK provides a much higher level mapping process, targeting 22,000 points. As a result, topography-guided laser surgery measures very small corneal imperfections versus simply measuring the overall curvature of the cornea.
With this detailed mapping process, Contoura LASIK is able to correct these minute imperfections, resulting in better overall vision.
How Does It Work?
During your pre-surgery consultation, your surgeon will assess your eyes, using the Contoura technology to map the surface of your eyes. The results of this process serve as the overall roadmap for your surgery.
You’ll prepare for your Contoura LASIK surgery much in the same way you would prepare for traditional LASIK.
- Wear glasses rather than contacts for one to three weeks before your surgery. Your doctor will advise you on the exact timeline depending on the type of contacts you wear.
- Tell your doctor about any medications you regularly take.
- Keep your eye area free of lotions and makeup on the day of the surgery.
- Arrange for a ride home after the procedure. Your vision will be blurry, and you will be unable to drive.
All the points that were mapped during your assessment are programmed into the laser prior to the surgery. The laser then changes the surface of the cornea, cutting away these imperfections and smoothing the surface of the eye. The end result is clearer vision.
Originally, surgeons determined what tissue should be cut away, and they guided the lasers. But developments in topography-guided lasers have changed this. Today, a software program determines exactly what the laser should do during the procedure.
What Does Contoura Treat?
Contoura can effectively and safely treat myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. It has shown to be very successful in correcting these issues.
Who Is Eligible for Contoura LASIK?
In order to receive Contoura LASIK, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include the following:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You have a stable prescription, meaning it hasn’t changed in the past year or two.
- You have a myopia reading of -9 diopters or less.
- You have a myopia reading of -8 diopters or less with an astigmatism of 3 diopters or less.
- Your astigmatism is not over 3 diopters. This is considered a mild to moderate astigmatism.
You will not qualify for surgery if you are pregnant or nursing, immunocompromised, or have certain eye diseases such as glaucoma. You’ll need good overall eye health to receive Contoura, so your eye surgeon will confirm this during your presurgical assessment.
How Does Contoura Compare to Other Types of LASIK?
Ultimately, Contoura is a more highly customized form of LASIK. As a result, patients often experience better vision outcomes and fewer side effects.
Since the topography-guided laser is able to remove tiny imperfections on the surface of the eye, this allows for more tailored changes. Because these imperfections are corrected, patients are less likely to experience side effects, such as reduced night vision, glares, and halos.
While patients already enjoy incredibly high success rates with traditional LASIK (99 percent of patients would have the surgery again), the results from Contoura LASIK could potentially be even better.
In 2015, Alcon published information on the effectiveness of Contoura topography-guided laser surgery, showing that the vast majority of patients achieved 20/20 or better vision after the surgery. Nearly 65 percent of patients had 20/16 vision following surgery, nearly 35 percent had 20/12.5 or better vision, and over 92 percent had 2020 or better vision. In addition, there were significantly fewer instances of side effects following surgery, such as glares, halos, and difficulties reading or driving at night.
With potential vision outcomes that are better than 20/20, many patients experience greater clarity and definition with Contoura LASIK than traditional LASIK. During your assessment, your doctor will evaluate your eyes and recommend the form of LASIK that is best for your unique situation.
The equipment used during Contoura LASIK, including both the hardware (laser) and software, is pricey. And doctors need specialized experience to perform Contoura procedures. As a result, Contoura tends to be more expensive than traditional LASIK.
Recovery From Surgery
Recovery from Contoura LASIK is similar to recovery from traditional LASIK. While you’ll notice almost immediate improvements in your vision, some blurriness may be present for several hours to days.
The surgery itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes, though you’ll spend some time before and after in the clinic prepping and then recovering from the surgery. Overall, you’ll be at the clinic for about two hours.
While the surgery is painless, it’s normal to feel some irritation or itchiness following the surgery. This generally passes within a few hours or days.
Follow your doctor’s specific advice regarding postsurgical care. Generally, these tips are recommended:
- Rest your eyes following the surgery. It’s a good idea to take a nap.
- Protect your eyes. Your surgeon may provide protective eye shields that will prevent you from rubbing or scratching your eyes.
- Use any prescribed eye drops. You may be sent home with lubricating eye drops.
- See your doctor for all follow-up appointments. They’ll likely schedule you to come in the day after the surgery to assess the healing process. You’ll then see your doctor at regular intervals over the next several months.
You can return to normal activities, such as driving and reading, within 48 hours. Avoid swimming for a few weeks following surgery. Don’t wear eye makeup for about a week.
Inform your doctor if you experience any discomfort or pain following Contoura LASIK. They’ll evaluate your eyes and ensure that everything is healing as it should.
Is Contoura Right for Me?
Some doctors recommend Contoura for cases that were previously not able to be treated with LASIK. Depending on the specifics of your refractive error, Contoura might be the best choice for you, giving you the very best vision outcomes possible from a LASIK procedure.
In some instances, however, traditional LASIK might provide 20/20 or better vision, and topography-guided laser surgery is not necessary. It comes down to the specifics of your myopia or astigmatism as well as your overall eye health.
Ask your eye surgeon about Contoura LASIK and whether it is right for your individual eyes.
Eye7 Hospitals Introduces Latest Contoura Vision Specs Removal Options for Safer and Much Sharper Visual Experience. (January 2017). Cision PR Newswire.
Contoura Vision Topography-Guided Ablation. (2020). Alcon.
Phorcides for Contoura. Phorcides.
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Comparison of Outcomes After Topography-Modified Refraction Versus Wavefront-Optimized Versus Manifest Topography-Guided LASIK. (May 2020). BMC Ophthalmology.
Topography-Guided Treatment in Regular and Irregular Corneas. (December 2020). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction after Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (Jan–Mar 2015). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.
Comparison of Wavefront-Optimized Ablation and Topography-Guided Contoura Ablation with LYRA Protocol in LASIK. (April 2019). Journal of Refractive Surgery.
Alcon Introduces Contoura Vision as First Personalized LASIK Procedure at American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting. (November 2015). Alcon.
How CONTOURA Vision Changes LASIK. (2018). Millennial Eye.
Comparison of Clinical Outcomes of 2 Platforms for Topography-Guided LASIK in Primary Eyes. (September 2021). Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
Clinical Outcomes After Topography-guided Refractive Surgery in Eyes with Myopia and Astigmatism—Comparing Results with New Planning Software to Those Obtained Using the Manifest Refraction. (February 2021). Clinical Ophthalmology.