Fairfax Eye Center

Refractive Surgery

Click on a topic to learn more: LASIK | Custom LASIK | Custom PRK | Conductive Keratoplasty

Refractive Surgery or Laser Vision Correction refers to a group of minimally invasive procedures that reshape the cornea with laser energy to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to help reduce or possibly eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. These procedures are customized to provide the best possible results for each individual patient, allowing your surgeon to correct the very specific refractive errors that obscure your vision.

There are several different laser vision correction procedures available to help patients achieve clear vision without glasses or contacts. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hartzell.


Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a safe and reliable way to improve vision by changing the way light is bent, or refracted, as it passes through the cornea.

During the LASIK procedure, Dr. Hartzell creates a thin flap in the surface of the cornea. This procedure is performed under topical anesthesia so that pain is minimized. The corneal flap is then lifted, and the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. Dr. Hartzell uses the VISX S4 laser with an eye tracker and iris registration. Finally, the flap is put back into place. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes per eye.

The ideal LASIK candidate includes someone who is over 18 years old, has stable vision and has a healthy cornea that is thick enough for a flap. After undergoing the procedure, patients experience immediate vision improvement and can often return to work the very next day.

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Custom LASIK

Custom LASIK, also known as wavefront LASIK, is quickly becoming the new standard in laser vision correction as it offers the most accurate, individualized results for each patient. This FDA-approved procedure uses three-dimensional measurements of the eye to help guide the laser as it reshapes the cornea and corrects your vision.

Custom LASIK lets patients benefit from a higher chance of achieving 20/20 vision, with many patients achieving vision that is better than 20/20, a feat often unachievable with traditional LASIK or glasses or contacts. Custom LASIK also reduces the risk of poor night vision and glare, side effects that are common with traditional LASIK.

During this procedure, a wavefront device transmits a ray of light into your eye that is received and arranged into a unique pattern to create a 3-D map of your eye, including both lower and higher order aberrations. This information is then transferred to the laser and applied to your eye's position, allowing your doctor to achieve customized vision correction for your individual needs.

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Custom PRK

Custom Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) uses an excimer laser to remove a small amount of the top of the cornea. Instead of cutting a flap into the cornea, this method preserves the strength of the cornea and avoids the risk of perforation and other flap errors. During the PRK procedure, Dr. Hartzell also has greater control in the location and amount of tissue being removed, allowing patients to enjoy a much more accurate treatment.

The PRK method involves gently sculpting the cornea rather than cutting, allowing Dr. Hartzell to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Before LASIK was available, PRK was the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. LASIK brought about several advantages over PRK, including less discomfort and faster results, but PRK is still preferred for patients with large pupils, thin corneas, and dry eyes. The PRK procedure takes less than a minute to complete, and is performed with only anesthetic eye drops.

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Conductive Keratoplasty

Did you have excellent vision until you needed distance glasses at 30? Did you turn 40 and find that you needed bifocals? If so, you may be among the millions of Americans who have presbyopia or hyperopia (farsightedness). Presbyopia is a natural, age related decrease in the ability of the human eye to focus. It occurs when the crystalline lens of the eye loses its flexibility, causing objects to appear blurry.

Conductive Keratoplasty or CK, is a safe, non-laser, non-cutting technique approved by the FDA to reduce or eliminate presbyopia or hyperopia for patients over 40. Instead of a blade or a laser, CK releases radiofrequency (RF) energy in a controlled pattern to reshape the cornea. This new corneal shape improves the way the eye focuses light and improves your vision.

CK was the first FDA-approved method for treating hyperopia. It is safer and less invasive than the LASIK procedure, takes less than five minutes per eye, and uses only a topical anesthetic.

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Free Consultation

Contact us for a free consultation with Dr. Hartzell today!

Before your consultation, patients who wear soft contact lenses or rigid gas-permeable contact lenses should discontinue their contact lens wear for at least 14 days prior to the evaluation. One or more careful refractions will be completed. If you have your prior eye glass prescriptions it is helpful to bring this information with you to your consultation. Contact lens wearing patients found to have an unstable refraction will be asked to further discontinue contact lens wear and return for a repeat refraction in one to three weeks. When consecutive refractions are stable the procedure may be scheduled. Corneal topography, pachymetry and a thorough eye exam will be completed including a dilated exam. Only healthy eyes are eligible for surgery.