While LASIK is certainly the most recognized type of eye correction surgery, there are a wide variety of options available. Most of these procedures work by reshaping the cornea, which is the clear front part of the eye. The cornea functions by focusing the light that travels through it, creating a more accurate impression on the retina at the back of the eye. Some surgeries also involve replacing the eye’s natural lens with an artificial one. Check out our comprehensive explanation of the various corrective surgery options below!
LASIK is used to correct vision in patients suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During the procedure a flap is made in the outer layer as seen above, exposing the underlying tissue, which is then reshaped with the use of a laser. The flap is what separates LASIK procedures from other eye corrective surgeries. LASIK can be performed with or without computer imaging known as wavefront technology, which creates a detailed image of the cornea and acts as a guide for treatment.
Photoreactive keratectomy is a process used to correct mild to moderate nearsightedness, as well as farsightedness and astigmatism. As with LASIK a laser is used to reshape the cornea, however, this laser is used on the surface of the cornea and requires no cutting. The PRK procedure can also take advantage of computer imaging software.
Laser epithelial keratomileusis is a variant of PRK in which an epithelial flap is created by loosening the cells with an alcohol solution. A laser is then used to reshape the cornea, and the flap is closed and secured until it has healed. This procedure is used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism.
Refractive lens exchange, also known as clear lens extraction or refractive lens replacement, is similar to cataract surgery. With RLE a small incision is made at the edge of the cornea, through which the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a silicone or plastic lens. This procedure is used to correct extreme farsightedness or nearsightedness, but may be inappropriate for those with corneal problems such as thin corneas or dry eyes. This procedure cannot be used to correct astigmatism, and it may be necessary to combine it with another procedure in order to achieve desired results.
Similar to PRK treatments, EpiLasik involves separating a very thin layer from the cornea before reshaping the underlying tissue. The layer may be removed or replaced, and then the area is protected by a soft contact lens while it heals.
With Intacs treatment two Intercorneal ring segments are inserted at the edge of the cornea through a small incision. These rings work to flatten the cornea thus changing the way light rays are focused on the retina. This procedure is used to treat keratoconus, a disorder that causes negative structural changes to the cornea.
Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants
Used for patients who are too near or farsighted for LASIK or PRK treatments, this procedure involves attaching an artificial lens to the iris behind the pupil, inserted through a small incision at the edge of the cornea. This procedure differs from RLE because the natural lens is left in place.