Custom ASA (Flap-Free)

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Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA/PRK)

(Flap-Free Laser vision correction)

Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) is a 100% laser, sophisticated, cut-free form of laser vision correction. It has many additional safety features over LASIK making it an ideal alternative for many patients. Customized ASA also utilizes state-of-the-art iDesign-driven Wavefront Technology (available only at Associated Ophthalmologists, PC) combined with safety, accuracy and precision of highly sophisticated excimer laser to treat a much wider range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. ASA has been proven to be an extremely successful procedure with the vast majority of patients achieving excellent visual results of 20/20 or better. Additionally, ASA is now the most commonly used vision-correcting procedure by the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and NASA astronauts.


ASA eye surgery diagram

For flap-free ASA, we use the most ultra-precise VISX S4IR laser and the same iDesign wavefront technology used in LASIK eye surgery, but we take laser vision correction to the next level by eliminating the need for creating a corneal flap. This has been shown to preserve the biomechanical strength of the cornea as compared to LASIK and decrease many complications that can occur due to flap creation. Because of the flap-free nature, there are absolutely no flap-related complications possible.

The primary difference between ASA and LASIK is that the surface of the cornea is treated in ASA while the inner tissue of the cornea is treated in LASIK underneath a corneal flap. 

Both procedures have similar success rates and patients achieve excellent visual improvement with either procedure, but flap-free and cut-free ASA offers an additional level of safety not possible with LASIK.

Despite the popularity of LASIK, refractive surgeons have come to realize that not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. LASIK requires a cornea of sufficient thickness to allow the surgeon to make a surgical flap and remove the precise amount of inner tissue. Patients with thin corneas or surface abnormalities could potentially encounter complications and more visual side effects with LASIK. Some patients also have pre-existing problems such as tear dysfunction and problems with the protective surface cells of the cornea, called the epithelium. Because of these and other factors, an increasing number of patients seeking LASIK are discovering that they may actually be better candidates for ASA. Many patients like the concept of achieving excellent outcomes with ASA because no cutting of eye tissue is involved in this procedure.


Both LASIK and ASA require the skill, knowledge and experience of an accomplished refractive surgeon. However, the potential complications of ASA are considered to be less than the potential complications of LASIK. The margin of safety with ASA is greater than that with LASIK as the need for a corneal flap is completely eliminated, so there are no flap complications. You do not need to worry about flap dislocations or wrinkles in the flap since there is no flap. The nerve endings that control tear secretion are also less affected, so there is less of a problem with dry eye after ASA surgery as compared to LASIK. The visual results of both procedures are the same at one month. We tell our patients that the main difference is that with LASIK they can drive in 1-2 days and with ASA in 4-5 days.

In summary, there are four clear advantages of Advanced Surface Ablation over LASIK.

  1. The first one is that it is a safer procedure since there is no flap creation and thus preservation of the cornea’s biomechanical strength.
  2. Second, there are no flap related complications.
  3. Third, the iDesign wavefront technology may be more accurately applied to the cornea in ASA than with LASIK.
  4. And lastly, there are fewer problems with dry eyes after ASA.

The decision to have laser vision correction is an important one that only you can make. It is important that you have realistic expectations and that your decision is based on facts, not hopes and misconceptions. The goal of any refractive procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. We will provide you with additional information about the procedure, possible side effects and complications, postoperative healing course and possible alternatives that will allow you to make an informed decision. Be sure to have all your questions answered before you have the procedure.

Finding out about the health of your eyes is your first step towards visual freedom. If your refractive error falls within the corrective range of laser vision correction, more extensive tests will be necessary. This information will help to determine if laser vision correction is in your best interest and, if so, which procedure would best suit your individual needs.

What our patients say about their ASA experiences:

M. H.

I had a custom ASA done by Dr. Husain. My vision went from 20/600; the next day I was seeing 20/20. At my one month checkup I was 20/15. My vision is continuing to improve as my eyes heal. This was the best money I’ve spent. I was so nervous to have this done that it took my husband 5 years to convince me — I worried for nothing. The procedure was simple and painless. No complications, no dry eyes, no halos; just perfect vision! Thanks, Dr. Husain!

C. B.

I was nervous about vision correction due to problems with dry eye. I finally decided to check in to it when I heard Dr. Husain does free consultations. He was so reassuring and helpful from the first appointment. He started me on eye drops right away and discussed the best option for my eyes. With Dr. Husain’s attention to detail I had no surprises from before my surgery to follow up. I’m now 1 month out from ASA and my vision has improved from 20/600 to 20/20. Highly recommend the services and staff at Associated Ophthalmologists.

B. L.

Four years ago, I had an ASA with Dr. Husain. It was the best decision I ever made! I wasn’t just legally blind, I was 5x legally blind and hadn’t been able to see the big ‘E’ on the eye chart without contacts or glasses since pre-kindergarten. Since the surgery, I have maintained 20/20 vision. I wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Husain for laser vision correction. 

To read more patient experiences, check out our LASIK/ASA Testimonials and our Patient Experience pages.

When it comes to your eyes, there should be no compromise.

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515-244-EYES (3937)
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Our Locations

Main Office:

1212 Pleasant Street
Suite 202
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
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515-244-EYES (3937)
Business Hours:
Monday - Thursday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Optical Shop:

1212 Pleasant Street
Suite 101
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
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Business Hours:
Monday - Thursday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM
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