Corrective Eye Surgery

Eye Surgery

Corrective Eye Surgery


Laser eye surgery such as PRK, LASIK, and LASEK have increased in popularity in recent years, while non-laser procedures have also been improved. Lasik may be the most popular type of corrective eye surgery, but there are a variety of types of eye surgery to consider that correct vision.

For laser eye surgery procedures, the surgeon uses a laser beam for reshaping the cornea and improving the eye's ability to focus. There are many different types of laser eye surgery, such as PRK, LASIK, Intralense or LASEK.


Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)

This type of laser eye surgery procedure is used for treating astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. It involves cutting a flap from the outer and middle layers of the cornea with a microkeratome and then using an excimer laser to reshape the tissue under the flap. This procedure usually takes about one minute per eye.

With Epi-LASIK, no blade or alcohol is used to cut through the cornea, instead a plastic separator is used to separate the epithelial sheet from the eye. The same excimer laser used in Lasik is used in Epi-Lasik to reshape the corneal tissue. After this corrective eye surgery, a special contact lens is used to keep the epithelial flap in place until it reattaches itself. People can usually see well enough to drive after about a week, however, it may take up to six months to see the final results.

Bladeless LASIK is very similar to regular Lasik eye surgery except that no blade is used to make the flap. Instead another laser is used. IntraLase, the technology used to create the flap may be safer than standard Lasik eye surgery which uses a bladed instrument to create the flap. Although complications are relatively rare, an oscillating blade presents more opportunity for an accident to occur.


Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)

Similar to Lasik, it's often performed for patients with thin corneas who would make poor candidates for Lasik eye surgery. It is a newer corrective eye surgery and is used to treat astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness.

In LASEK eye surgery, the process is pretty much the same as in LASIK, except the flap is cut only through the outer corneal layer (epithelium), therefore less of the cornea is removed. Since alcohol is used to loosen the flap, the risk to the cornea is not as great.

This type of eye surgery can have some side effects, such as a slightly longer healing period with more discomfort. Although a blade is still used with Lasek, it is a finer blade than the microkeratome that is used with Lasik. While patients who have Lasik eye surgery often see well the day after surgery, Lasek patients may take up to two weeks to see well again. Longer recovery times are probably the biggest drawback to Lasek eye surgery, as patients have to take more time off from work.


Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
This type of laser eye surgery is used to treat mild to moderate farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. With PRK corrective eye surgery, no flap is made in the cornea at all. Instead, the surgeon skips right to the next step and uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea in order to correct vision. If you're nearsighted, the surgeon will attempt to flatten the cornea, which is too steep. If you're farsighted, the surgeon will attempt to make the cornea steeper. The surgery generally lasts less than a minute.


Non-laser Eye Surgery
These types of eye surgery involve correcting vision reshaping the cornea by cutting into the outer layers of the eye or using low heat radio waves.

Astigmatic Keratotomy Incisions
This procedure is used for correcting mild astigmatism. Bulgy areas of the cornea are corrected with the use of a blade. This procedure is often performed in combination with other eye surgery procedures. However, it is now used less frequently than laser eye surgery.

Implantable Contact Lenses
These implantation lenses are used to treat serious farsightedness and nearsightedness. The lens is inserted behind the iris, in front of the eye's natural lens. Unlike normal contact lenses, you cannot feel them and they don't need maintenance. This type of eye surgery usually takes 6 to 20 minutes.

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
This procedure has been used for many decades now and the lenses are usually implanted in the eye during a cataract surgery for replacing the natural lens. Years ago, intraocular lenses could only improve distance vision and glasses were still necessary for close vision. However, the procedure has been improved and now corrects close and intermediate vision as well.


When considering eye surgery, get all the facts before you make an informed decision. While many surgeons would always choose laser procedures and the most advanced technologies, some still advise a few patients with specific eye conditions to have a non-laser surgery instead. Even though the success rates for these types of surgeries are impressive, no corrective eye surgery is one hundred percent safe or successful. All eye surgeries have possible side effects and involve certain risks, so you should consult a physician who can explain the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure.


Corrective Eye Surgery Information


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