Life without contacts or glasses is a dream for many people, but corrective eye surgeries help make that dream a reality. If you are considering corrective eye surgery to give you clear vision again, here are the options available.
LASIK is what many people refer to when they consider corrective eye surgery, but it is not the only option. LASIK stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis, and is a laser eye surgery that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK corrects vision by creating a flap from the outer layer of the cornea, then reshaping the lower layers. The flap helps protect the underlying tissue as the eye heals.
PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy and is a laser surgery option that also treats astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. PRK does not create the cornea flap, and requires the removal of less corneal tissue.
LASEK stands for laser epithelial keratomileusis, and this is quite similar to PRK. However, in LASEK, an epithelial flap is used to help speed up healing. The difference between LASEK and LASIK is the location of the flap. LASEK creates the flap from the epithelial tissue, not the tissue of the cornea.
EpiLasik separates a small layer of the cornea, reshapes the cornea, and then either replaces or removes the small layer that was separated.
RLE, or reflective lens exchange, is used when the natural lens of the eye is damaged. In this surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced with a silicone or plastic lens.
PRELEX, or presbyopic lens exchange, allows a multifocal lens to be implanted into the eye to correct presbyopia.
Intacts inserts two crescent-shaped plastic rings into the outer edge of the cornea. The rings cause the cornea to flatten, changing the way that light rays hit. This can treat nearsightedness. However, laser procedures are most often used instead as they are less invasive.
AK or RLI
Astigmatic keratotomy is used to correct astigmatism. By making incision at the steepest part of the cornea, the surgeon causes the cornea to relax and take on a rounded shape. This can be used with laser treatments for patients with astigmatism.
With so many options available, determining which is right for you is challenging. Talk to your eye doctor to determine which procedure would work best for your specific physiology and vision problem.