Jason Mayer, MD specializes in cataract surgery, cornea surgery, and laser vision correction at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado. Growing up, first in England and then moving to Ohio, Dr. Mayer’s dad worked as a cornea specialist, which introduced Dr. Mayer to the world of ophthalmology. When he was 14, Dr. Mayer had the opportunity to travel with his dad to the Philippines on a mission trip where his dad was the on-site cataract surgeon. He assisted his dad in the operating room and got to see what eye surgery was really like; he also got to see first-hand the positive impact he could make on the lives of his patients as an ophthalmologist.
During his ophthalmology residency at Penn State, after a mission trip to Bolivia where he had the opportunity to perform small incision cataract surgeries, Dr. Mayer knew where he wanted to focus his passion and his work: bettering quality of life by improving and restoring vision using the cornea as the source for improvement.
Laser Vision Correction
Dr. Mayer says that, to be a cornea specialist, you have to have a love and respect for the cornea. During a laser vision correction procedure, the cornea is the targeted source for vision improvement. For Dr. Mayer, refractive surgeries like LASIK, PRK, and SMILE are an opportunity to take a healthy eye and enhance it to further improve vision and quality of life within a very short time period.
When Dr. Mayer explains refractive surgery, he starts with this:
Your vision is based on the length and shape of your eye, and if they’re not well matched, you might need glasses and/or contact lens to correct your vision. By changing the shape of your eye, i.e. the cornea, we can correct your vision to minimize the need for glasses/contacts.
LASIK is the most widely known refractive surgery procedure. During LASIK, a laser very precisely creates a flap in the cornea, the cornea is then reshaped, and the flap is laid back down. During PRK, after the top layer of the cornea is laser removed, the cornea is reshaped with a laser, and then corneal surface heal over. During a SMILE procedure, a laser is used to cut a contact lens shaped piece (the lenticule) of the cornea which is removed through a small incision so the cornea can be flattened without a flap or large incision.
LASIK – After LASIK, Dr. Mayer will tell you to go home, relax, and rest your eyes. The next day, almost all patients will see their vision greatly improved.
PRK – It takes a little longer for PRK patients to see the full improvement of their vision due to larger area of healing that needs to take place. It can take a few weeks or even a month or more to see the full improvement.
SMILE – Much like LASIK, most patients will see improvement right away, within one day, but in some cases, it may take up to a week.
While rare, every surgery has its risks. Refractive surgeries come with the risk of dry eye, for instance, but using lubricating drops will give your eyes the best environment in which to heal.
- There’s a small risk for infection during all laser vision correction (LVC) and patients are always prescribed antibacterial drops to decrease that risk.
- While the eye does a great job healing itself, in a very small portion of patients over-healing can occur after LVC, causing scarring and possibly reduced vision.
- Rarely, a procedure can result in over or under correcting a prescription.
- After a procedure, the eyes may experience some inflammation, requiring steroid drops.
Choosing to have refractive surgery and deciding on what procedure is best for your eyes is based on your vision needs and the way you live your life. Dr. Mayer and the laser vision correction surgeons at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado are focused on making your refractive surgery a personal experience. Part of Dr. Mayer’s decision to come to the Eye Center was the wide range of patients he gets to see here. There’s also diversity within their team of doctors, which Dr. Mayer says allows for collaboration and the sharing of ideas, which leads to more complete care of each patient.
Let’s talk about how we can enhance your vision.