Are There Other Refractive Surgeries Besides LASIK?

Are There Other Refractive Surgeries Besides LASIK?

March 31st, 2020
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Whether you know exactly what it is or how it works, you have likely heard of LASIK. It is a well-known procedure for providing quality vision to countless patients every year.

What doesn’t sound ideal about eliminating the need for glasses or contacts? But did you know that it is not the only option out there?

Keep reading to learn about other refractive surgeries available besides LASIK!

Why LASIK is So Popular (And Why It’s Not For Everyone)

LASIK is popular for several reasons: it’s safe, it’s fast, and it works. There are very few complications that occur because of the procedure.

It’s also fast since it only takes about 15 minutes per eye to complete as an outpatient procedure. The best part may be that it’s so successful since it has a 96% success rate with patients that have had it!

Vision occurs when light passes through the eye and touches the retina, a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye. But in order for our vision to not be blurry, it needs to focus on a point on the retina.

This is done through two parts: the lens and the cornea. Many people may think that the lens is more important for light focusing. This is actually something that the cornea does more of!

When the cornea is misshapen, how light focuses gets affected. The light could be focused before hitting the retina, behind the retina, or scattered across different points across the retina.

This results in nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. LASIK works by changing the shape of the cornea directly.

What Happens During LASIK?

First, the surgeon creates an opening in the top layer of the cornea using a laser. This opening is more of a flap created so that it can be easily closed at the end of the surgery. The middle layer of the cornea is where the actual reshaping happens.

Another laser blasts away microscopic amounts of tissue in exact places around the cornea. Special software and computers help calculate the exact amount to remove.

This provides an accurate and tailored experience for every LASIK patient. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon closes the flap and leaves it to heal on its own.

Full recovery can take several months, but much of your life will return to normal within a couple of weeks.

Am I A LASIK Candidate?

To receive LASIK, you need to go through a candidacy screening to ensure the procedure is for you. Not everyone meets the safety criteria which includes:

  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Health
  • Past medical history
  • Eye problems
  • Corneal density and thickness

If you are not eligible for LASIK, you may be eligible for one of the following procedures instead.

What is Photorefractive Keratectomy?

PRK is a lot like LASIK in almost every way, except for one major difference: there is no corneal flap created.

Instead, a section of the top layer of the cornea is completely removed. This causes recovery time to be significantly longer. PRK patients may have a more difficult recovery as a result, but there are no flap complications.

What is a Refractive Lens Exchange?

In some cases, your cornea may not need reshaping at all. Instead, the lens of your eye could be replaced. RLE or refractive lens exchange replaces the natural lens.

The natural lens is then replaced with an IOL, or intraocular lens. If this sounds a lot like cataract surgery, that’s because it’s almost identical.

RLE may not always involve a patient having cataracts. Some patients prefer to have RLE and avoid having cataracts in the future.

Curious if there is a procedure that’s right for you if you’re not a LASIK candidate? Schedule an appointment at the Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, AL!