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Alternate Procedures to LASIK Surgery

Some days it may seem that LASIK Surgery is the only surgery available for people wanting to improve their vision or lifestyle. But while LASIK is the most well-known refractive procedure utilized today, not everyone qualifies. And, for that matter, LASIK is not always the best option for patients looking to reduce their use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. The good news is there are plenty of alternatives for patients in both cases.


Photorefractive Keratectomy Surgery (PRK)

There are alternatives to LASIK surgery. One of the main alternatives is PRK or photorefractive keratectomy. Available since 1995 in the United States, PRK eye surgery has been performed elsewhere for about 20 years.

The results from PRK eye surgery are similar to LASIK, but the procedures and post-op are different.
Also, with the advent of LASIK surgery, PRK is performed on a drastically smaller group of people.


Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Refractive lens exchange surgery or RLE is a new procedure where the eye’s natural lens is replaced by an artificial one. What makes this process appealing is that it is, for the most part, permanent and can work on the more extreme vision issues.

Who is a Candidate for RLE

The most likely candidates for refractive lens exchange surgery (RLE) are people over the age of 50,who are too near/farsighted for LASIK or are tired of wearing bifocals. RLE is also possible for people in the early stages of cataracts.


WaveFront Custom LASIK

Wavefront Custom is actually two separate procedures. One is the diagnostic mapping of the cornea prior to surgery and the other is used to guide the laser in the ablation of the cornea.

What makes this procedure different and important is the mapping of higher order aberrations. These are not familiar aberrations like nearsightedness or farsightedness. Higher order aberrations produce more severe errors such as glare, blurring and double vision. These severe errors many times disqualified patients from having LASIK Surgery.


Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

There's a new sheriff in town - CK or Conductive Keratoplasty. Using radiofrequency, CK treats patients with hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia. Sadly, those with myopia (nearsightedness) or those under the age of 40 aren't candidates. It's for those people who use reading glasses or who have good distance vision. Baby boomers: we're talking to you.


Phakic Intraocular Lenses (PIL)

Phakic intraocular lenses are permanent implants into the eye without removing the eye's natural lens.

The FDA has approved Phakic intraocular lenses only for Myopia or nearsightedness. This procedure is performed to replace a person's glasses or contact lenses.


Epi-LASIK

Epi-LASIK surgery, developed in Greece and having crossed the ocean only in the last few years, is similar to both LASEK and LASIK procedures. While it’s a slight variation, it’s yet another option for candidates with thin corneas.

This procedure can be applied for all the same people using LASIK surgery, but it is usually considered for people with thin corneas.


Monovision

As people age, the need for glasses, especially for nearsightedness (Myopia) becomes a necessity. This is the beginning of Presbyopia. What happens is in or around the age of 40, the crystalline lens loses its flexibility. The first sign is likely in the fine print. Our arms aren’t long enough to read the fine print. This does not, necessarily, affect distance vision.

The normal fix for presbyopia is glasses (bifocals, trifocals and reading glasses); contact lenses are a limited fix, as is LASIK surgery.


LASEK vs LASIK

LASEK Surgery or laser epithelial keratomileusis is an alternative to LASIK surgery and a cousin of PRK. LASEK combines elements of both surgeries and can be used for patients with astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness.


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