Many people turn to refractive surgery as an alternative to glasses or contact lenses for improving their vision. Anyone considering refractive surgery should educate themselves about the various surgical alternatives. They should also understand the potential benefits and possible risks of the procedure. Three forms of surgical correction are widely used today to treat vision disorders.
LASIK, or Laser In Situ Keratomileusis, uses a laser to reshape the cornea. During LASIK, the surgeon uses a microkeratome or laser to create a corneal tissue flap. The flap is then folded back, exposing the inner tissue of the cornea. The exposed tissue is then reshaped with the laser. The flap is folded back into place, preserving the outer layers of the cornea. This flap heals rapidly and an improvement in vision is noticed almost immediately.
2. Conductive KeratoplastyCK, or conductive keratoplasty, is a procedure that uses radio-frequency energy to tighten the collagen tissue in the cornea. This alters the shape of the cornea to correct low to moderate amounts of farsightedness and presbyopia. This procedure benefits patients with relatively good distance vision but need glasses for reading or near point tasks. Although this surgery is considered temporary, lasting about 5 years, it is very safe and can be repeated.
3. Multifocal Intraocular Lens ImplantsMultifocal intraocular lens implants (IOLs) are artifical lenses that replace our natural, crystalline lens. This implant is designed to give clear distance vision and near vision. Although this surgery is designed more for older patients facing cataract surgery, patients who wear bifocal glasses or contact lenses are eligible. Because this surgery is intraocular surgery, it carries a slightly higher risk than LASIK or CK.