Corrective Eye Surgery Choices

The number of corrective eye surgery choices can be boggling. Procedural names are so similar, like Lasik and Lasek that one wonders if it’s a spelling error or really a different procedure. Some procedures can correct more than one problem.

Some problems can be corrected by more than one procedure. Below are brief descriptions of the more common corrective eye surgery choices and links to pages that will describe them in greater detail.

Choosing an Eye Surgeon

You will want to take time to choose an eye surgeon with as much experience as possible in the procedure you are going to have done. Most doctors tend to specialize in certain procedures more than others.

For example the most experienced Lasik surgeon in your area may have little or no experience with corrective eye muscle surgery.

It pays to do your homework before you begin your search for an eye surgeon, too. Knowing something about the types of surgery he might recommend can help keep you alert when you’re interviewing potential eye surgeons.

Corrective Eye Surgery Choices Using Laser and Radio Waves

Laser eye surgeries and CK reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors. There are several different types of corrective eye surgery in this category. Take the time to read articles about each, such as Lasik and how it works.

Other laser eye surgeries, such as, Lasek, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), or Epi-Lasik and similar procedures like LTK (laser thermal keratoplasty) or CK (conductive keratoplasty) are all worth researching.

Each has one or more advantages or shortcomings compared to the others. Some were developed to improve upon an earlier method. Others provided corrections not treated by other methods.

PresbyLasik is a relatively new use of Lasik eye surgery to correct the refractive error that results from aging crystalline lenses. This condition is called presbyopia.

In this procedure the eye surgeon uses Lasik ablation to create a multifocal surface on the cornea. It hasn’t yet received U.S.FDA approval, but has been used successfully in other countries.

Monovision Lasik is also used to treat presbyopia. This procedure uses Lasik to create clear vision for distance in the dominant eye, and clear near vision in the non-dominant eye.

Corrective Eye Surgery Choices Using Artificial Lenses

There are several corrective eye surgery treatments that use artificial lenses. First, there are single vision lenses and multifocal lenses. Multifocal lenses are gaining favor for their ability to provide clear vision at all distances.

While some people might still need glasses for reading, the multifocal lenses are sufficient for others.

Patient’s receiving single vision lenses usually need glasses for reading or computer use. Implantable lenses are used as a an alternative to Lasik for nearsightedness, and are a common treatment for cataracts. Also known as phakic intraocular lenses (IOLs) this is a permanent corrective eye surgery that removes the natural lens.

IOLs are placed either between the cornea and the iris or just below the iris. The surgery is reversible, and the lenses are removable if necessary. Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is the exchange of your natural crystalline lens for an artificial one.

This surgery is not reversible. However, the artificial lens can be changed out later if necessary. RLE is also referred to as Clear Lens Extraction (CLE). Corneal inlays and onlays are not, yet, FDA approved in the U.S. Inlays are still in the clinical trials stages.

Corneal onlays are being researched and expected to begin clinical trials soon. These procedures have been successful in other countries, so they show potential for eventual FDA approval.

Used to treat refractive error, corneal inlays an onlays are placed within the cornea, each in different locations.

The inlay is a disc that is placed between a corneal surface flap and the remaining cornea, and the onlay is a genetically engineered collagen-type substance that is injected in a pocket under the corneal epithelium.

Other Corrective Eye Surgery Choices

Intacs are not lenses, but are more like spacers. These crescent shaped plastic inserts are placed within the corneal tissue at the outer edge(s). Either one or two are used to raise the edges of the cornea, which flattens the center of the cornea.

They reduce myopic (nearsighted) error and make vision more farsighted by decreasing the dome shape of the cornea. Consider Intacs as an alternative to corneal transplant first because they are fully reversible.

Corneal transplant is a major corrective eye surgery choice. This choice is usually made when all other choices are exhausted. Corneal transplants recovery and healing periods can be lengthy.

Choices must be made between natural and synthetic corneas, and the risk of rejection. Corneal transplants have a high success rate, but not all corneal transplants last a lifetime. How long a corneal transplant lasts depends upon many factors.

Corrective eye surgery for eye muscle problems, like strabismus (lazy eye, or crossed eyes) involves surgically cutting and reattaching the eye muscle.


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