Since its approval by the FDA in 1999, LASIK has become a household name in the area of surgical vision correction, but many people are unaware that there a variety of types of vision correction surgery available beyond LASIK that are vastly successful. Many people are not well-suited for LASIK due to high degrees of myopia, thin corneas, severe dry eye or other factors. It’s important to understand the full variety of options available as you begin your journey to clear vision!
LASIK and PRK surgery are both popular forms of laser vision correction surgery. With LASIK, our laser eye surgeons utilize the WaveLight FS200 Femtosecond laser to create a flap on the front of the eye (cornea). The flap is then folded back and as second laser is used to correct irregularities in the eye by reshaping the cornea and correcting the imperfections in the patient’s vision. Once the second laser treatment is complete, the surgeon will replace the corneal flap, which will then act as a natural bandage. With LASIK, most patients are seeing clearly almost immediately after the procedure, and by the day after surgery, patients often return to work and regular daily activities with little to no discomfort.
PRK is a very similar laser vision correction procedure. Many patients that have irregular shaped corneas or steeping, dry eye, or very active lifestyles may be better suited for PRK than LASIK. Like LASIK, a laser is used to correct irregularities in the eye to correct vision problems. With PRK, no corneal flap is created. Instead, a chemical solution is used to dissolve the top later of the cornea called the epithelium. PRK does have a longer recovery time and may take longer for the patient to obtain the best vision.
Ideal LASIK/PRK Candidates
Visian ICL is an innovative vision correction surgery that offers many benefits and may be an option for patients who are not candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas, dry eyes, or high levels of nearsightedness. Approved in the United States in 1995, Visian ICL® surgery has been a revolutionary treatment option for patients who have historically had to wear “coke-bottle” glasses. Instead of using a laser to correct your vision like LASIK, ICLs are actually a micro-thin, implantable collamer lens that is surgically places inside the eye in front of the eyes natural lens. Once implanted, you will not feel the lens or even know it is there! ICL implants are completely removable by a surgeon if needed. Patients have been thrilled with the results of ICL surgery and the vision freedom they’ve been able to experience!
Ideal Visian ICL Candidates
Patients that have issues with both distance and near vision may greatly benefit from exploring monovision correction. Monovision is a type of correction where one eye is corrected for distance (typically your dominate eye), and the other eye is corrected for near vision. Monovision works with a process called neuroadaptation, where your brain is able to comfortably process the distance and near images, to work together to see at all fields of vision. Not every brain and person will accommodate to monovision, so our doctors may want to have you trial monovision with contacts or glasses before you consider monovision surgery. Monovision correction can be performed with LASIK/PRK Surgery, refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery, and custom cataract surgery. If you are tired of wearing bifocals, progressive lenses, or switching between various pairs of glasses, than monovision may be a great option to consider!
Ideal Candidates for Monovision
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If you are frustrated wearing readers or trying to see up close, you may be a great candidate for a procedure called refractive lens exchange surgery, commonly referred to as RLE or clear lens extraction.
Once people reach their mid to late 40’s and 50’s, they may begin noticing issues with their near vision and may need to begin wearing readers. This common condition is called presbyopia, and will affect everyone at some point in their lives. RLE surgery is a great option to address presbyopia. RLE surgery involves removing the eye’s natural focusing lens and replacing the lens with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. Your surgeon may recommend an advanced technology IOL such as a multifocal lens if the patient’s goal is to eliminate corrective eyewear by correcting near, intermediate and distance vision. RLE surgery can also address issues such as farsightedness and astigmatism. It’s important to schedule an examination to determine which RLE package is best for you!
The Eye Institute of Utah Doctors have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.