Refractive Surgery

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Refractive Surgery


If you have a refractive error, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism or presbyopia, refractive surgery is a method for correcting or improving your vision.

LASIK

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is an outpatient refractive surgery procedure used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. A laser is used to reshape the cornea - the clear, around dome at the front of the eye - to improve the way the eye focuses light rays onto the retina at the back of the eye.
First, the eye is numbed with a few drops of topical anesthetic. An eyelid holder is placed between the eyelids to keep them open and prevent the patient from blinking. A suction ring placed on the eye lifts and flattens the cornea and helps keep the eye from moving. With LASIK, an ophthalmologist creates a thin flap in the cornea using either a blade or a laser. The surgeon folds back the flap and precisely removes a very specific amount of corneal tissue under the flap using an excimer laser. The flap is then laid back into its original position where it heals in place. The surgeon will provide eyedrops to help the eye heal and relieve dryness.

PRK

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) uses the excimer laser in the same way as LASIK, and patients' vision correction results are similar. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that in PRK there is no flap - only the very top (epithelial) layer of the cornea is removed (or moved aside) before the excimer laser sculpts the cornea.
Many PRK surgeons use a blunt, gently vibrating microkeratome to remove the epithelial layer. The patient may also be given topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications and oral pain medications to reduce discomfort and speed healing after surgery. A "bandage" soft contact lens is used to promote epithelial healing, which takes about four days.
While LASIK patients often report clear, improved vision by the day after surgery, it may be a few days before vision stabilizes for PRK patients. The cornea's epithelial layer re-grows during this time.

LASEK

A microsurgical instrument called a trephine is used to create a flap of epithelial corneal tissue, and an alcohol solution is used to loosen the epithelial cells. Once the epithelial flap is created and moved aside, the procedure is the same as PRK. After corneal sculpting, the epithelial flap is repositioned and smoothed with a small spatula, then secured with a "bandage" soft contact lens to promote epithelial healing, which takes about four days.

EpiLasik
A special microkeratome, the Epi-keratome, is used to precisely separate a very thin sheet of epithelial tissue from the cornea. This thin sheet is lifted to the side and the cornea is treated as with PRK. Then the thin sheet may be moved back into place to re-adhere to the cornea or removed. A "bandage" soft contact lens is applied and used for about four days to help the epithelial layer heal.
Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)
CK is a noninvasive, thermal refractive surgery procedure used to correct mild to moderate farsightedness in people over age 40. With CK, your Eye M.D. uses a tiny probe that releases controlled amounts of radio frequency (RF) energy, instead of a laser, to apply heat to the peripheral portion of the cornea. The heat then causes the peripheral cornea to shrink and tighten like a belt. This increases the curvature (steepness) of the central cornea, improving the optical power of the central cornea. This refocuses light rays on the retina and enhances vision.