Macular DegenerationAge Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)Read more...
Cosmetic Eye SurgeryWhat is Cosmetic Eye Surgery?Read more...
CataractWhat is Cataract?Read more...
Corneal TransplantWhat is Corneal Transplant?Read more...
Dry Eye SyndromeWhat is Dry Eye Syndrome?Read more...
Diabetic RetinopathyWhat is Diabetic Retinopathy?Read more...
Eye CancerWhat is Eye Cancer?Read more...
GlaucomaWhat is Glaucoma?Read more...
Retinal DetachmentWhat is Retinal Detachment?Read more...
Refractive SurgeryWhat is Refractive Surgery?Read more...
UveitisWhat is Uveitis?Read more...
VitrectomyWhat is Vitrectomy?Read more...
What is Refractive Surgery ?
The light that passes through the pupil, lens and cornea focuses directly upon the retina is termed as clear vision. If there is flat, steep or round cornea that relates to the eye length, then the light rays focus behind the retina or in front of the retina. This results into refractive errors like astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness. Vision correction surgery, also called refractive and laser eye surgery, is any surgical procedure used to correct vision problems. In recent years, tremendous advancements have been made in this field. After refractive and laser eye surgery, many patients report seeing better than they had at any other time in their lives.
Most types of vision correction surgery work by reshaping the cornea, or clear front part of the eye, so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. Other types involve replacing the eye’s natural lens. There are a number of different types of surgery to improve vision, including -
LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis)
Short for laser in-situ keratomileusis, this laser eye surgery is used to correct vision in people who are nearsighted, farsighted, and/or have astigmatism. During LASIK surgery, vision is corrected by reshaping underlying corneal tissue so that it can properly focus light into the eye and onto the retina. LASIK eye surgery differs from others in that a flap is made in the outer layer of the cornea so that the underlying tissue can be accessed. LASIK may also be done with the addition of computer imaging called wavefront technology to create a detailed image of the cornea and guide for treatment.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Short for photorefractive keratectomy, this laser eye surgery is used to correct mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. During PRK surgery, an eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea. This laser, which delivers a cool pulsing beam of ultraviolet light, is used on the surface of the cornea, not underneath a flap of the cornea, like in LASIK eye surgery. PRK may also be done with computer imaging of the cornea.
LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)
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Short for laser epithelial keratomileusis, this is a variant of PRK. An epithelial flap is created and then epithelial cells are loosened using an alcohol solution. A laser is used to reshape the cornea, then the flap is replaced and secured with a soft contact lens while it heals. LASEK surgery is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange)
Short for refractive lens exchange and also known as clear lens extraction, RLE is similar to surgery done for cataracts and involves making a small incision at the edge of the cornea to remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it with a silicone or plastic lens. Also called PRELEX, clear lens exchange (CLE), clear lens extraction (CLE), and refractive lens replacement (RLR), RLE is used to correct extreme farsightedness or nearsightedness. It may be appropriate for people with thin corneas, dry eyes, or other minor problems of the cornea. To correct astigmatism, however, another procedure such as PRK, LASEK, CK, or Epi-LASIK may be needed in addition to RLE.
In EpiLasik, which is similar to PRK, a very thin layer is separated from the cornea and then the cornea is reshaped. The thin layer may be left off or replaced. The area is protected with a soft contact lens while it heals.
PRELEX (Presbyopic Lens Exchange)
Short for presbyopic lens exchange, PRELEX, is a procedure in which a multifocal lens is implanted to correct presbyopia, a condition in which the eye’s lens loses its flexibility, making it difficult to focus on close objects.
Intacs (Intracorneal Ring Segments, or ICR)
Also known as intracorneal ring segments, or ICR, this procedure involves making a small incision in the cornea and placing two crescent-shaped plastic rings at the outer edge or the cornea. The rings flatten the cornea, changing the way light rays focus on the retina. ICR was used to treat mild nearsightedness as well as nearsightedness but has been replaced by laser-based procedures. Irregular cornea shape from keratoconus, a condition that results in vision loss due to thinning and irregularity in the cornea, is the most common condition treated with intacs.
Phakic intraocular lens implants
Designed for patients who are too nearsighted for LASIK and PRK, the phakic implant is inserted through a small incision at the edge of the cornea and attached to the iris inserted behind the pupil. This procedure differs from RLE in that the eye’s natural lens is left in place.
AK or RLI (Astigmatic Keratotomy)
Short for astigmatic keratotomy, this is not laser eye surgery, but a surgical procedure used to correct astigmatism. The cornea of people who have astigmatism is shaped like a football. AK or RLI eye surgery corrects astigmatism by making one or two incisions at the steepest part of the cornea. These incisions cause the cornea to relax and take a more rounded shape. This eye surgery may be used alone, or in combination with other laser eye surgeries such as PRK, LASIK, or RK.
RK (Radial Keratotomy)
Short for radial keratotomy, this eye surgery was once one of the most frequently used procedures to correct nearsightedness. However, since the development of more effective laser eye surgeries, such as LASIK and PRK, RK is rarely used today and is considered an obsolete procedure.
Phototherapeutic Keratotomy (PTK)
PTK involves ablative photodecomposition of the epithelium by ablating microscopically thin layers and etching away surface irregularities. Candidates for PTK are patients with significant visual compromise due to corneal scars and opacities (from trauma or inactive infections), dystrophies (Reis-Buckler’s, lattice, anterior basement membrane dystrophy [ABMD]), irregular corneal surface associated with filamentary keratitis and Salzmann’s nodular degeneration, recurrent corneal erosions (RCE) (unresponsive to lubricants, debridement, or stromal puncture), band keratopathy, scars resulting from previous pterygium excision, Thygeson’s superficial keratitis, and irregular astigmatism.
Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)
CK is a non-ablative, collagen-shrinking procedure for the treatment of mild and moderate hyperopia. Radiofrequency energy is delivered through a fine tip inserted into the corneal stroma. The collagen lamellae in the area surrounding the tip shrink and tighten, increasing the radius of curvature of the cornea. The spots are placed in the circumference of the mid- and peripheral cornea. Based on the amount of refractive change targeted, the number and location of treatment spots may be determined, with larger treatments requiring more spots and rings.
Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK)
Incisional surgical procedure used to correct corneal astigmatism. Arcuate incisions are placed in the corneal midperipheral zone of the steep meridian at approximately 90% depth.
Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK)
A refractive surgical procedure in which the surgeon creates a flap of the uppermost layer of the cornea using a microkeratome. A second pass of the microkeratome is made in order to remove a wedge of tissue.
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