Lasik eye surgery is the most well-known procedure to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Despite the other procedures names not being as well known to the general public, there are actually a few different options to choose from to restore vision.
Before discussing the other options to restore vision, it is important to understand why Lasik Eye Surgery is the most popular choice. Lasik can be done to treat multiple conditions. It works on nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Not all the other options can treat all three. Lasik is very quick procedure. It involves using a laser to create a flap so that other lasers can be used to reshape the cornea. After the flap has been resealed, most patients can notice an immediate improvement in their vision, and resume their regular activities the next day. The quick recovery time and immediate results are not standard for the other alternatives.
One of the most common alternatives to Lasik is photorefractive keratectomy or PRK. PRK can be a great option for some patients that do not meet the qualifications for Lasik. PRK is very similar to Lasik in many ways, but the biggest difference is that PRK does not create a flap on the surface of the eye. Instead, the very thin outer layer of the eye is removed. Then, the same lasers used in Lasik are used to reshape the cornea. Another difference is that a special contact lens is placed on the eye to protect it as it heals. The biggest reason a patient might not choose PRK over Lasik is the recovery time. A Lasik patients notice an immediate improvement in their vision and can usually resume normal activity the next day, whereas, PRK patients’ vision improves slowly over the following day and weeks, and a couple weeks are needed for complete recovery. Despite the slower results, the long term results are supposed to be equal to Lasik.
Another alternative to Lasik, that does result in almost immediate improved vision, like Lasik Eye Surgery, is Implantable Collamer Lens or ICL. This is an option for patients with medium to severe nearsightedness. In some cases, it can improve astigmatism to a degree, but it does not have the same results correcting astigmatism as Lasik or PRK. The biggest downside with Implantable Collamer Lens are that they do not work to help patients suffering with farsightedness. The procedure is fairly fast and has a quick recovery, like Lasik. With ICL a small hole is made in the Iris using lasers that allows the folded lens to be inserted. The lens unfolds, and then, the doctor tucks it into place. This procedure is usually done on patients under the age of 45 who do not qualify for the previously mentioned procedures.
There is one option that does not use lasers, and can be considered for patients who are not good candidates for the different laser options. This option is a refractive lens exchange with the use of an implantable contact lens. With this surgery an implantable contact lens in placed inside the eye to replace the eye’s natural lens. This can be done to help patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia, and is usually reserved for those over the age of 45.
The best way to know which procedure is right for you is to meet with doctors who can examine your eyes and determine what is best for your eyes. Mile High Eye Institute can give you a consultation to get you one step closer to a life that is not dependent on glasses or contacts.