Surgery is a scary experience, no matter how routine the procedure is. Eye surgery can seem especially intimidating since the eyes are such a sensitive organ. Being prepared and knowledgeable about corrective eye surgery procedures, the average cost of laser eye surgery, and what happens after laser eye surgery can make the experience much less stressful and scary.
Read about the following general vision correction options, and make sure you’re fully informed before your next eye appointment or surgery:
All Laser LASIK (IntraLASIK)
Eliminating any variation in thickness in the cut corneal flap necessary to LASIK procedures, IntraLASIK utilizes a laser instead of an oscillating blade. This procedure is thus considered safer and more accurate than traditional LASIK.
Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK)
ALK is performed to correct nearsightedness and mild farsightedness, but has become less common as more accurate surgeries have been developed. A flap across the cornea is cut and folded back, and another cut is made to the inner tissue. The outer flap is then replaced, and it reattaches itself.
Laser Assisted Intrastromal Keratomileusis (LASIK)
Used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, LASIK procedures temporarily removing a flap of the cornea and applying laser energy to remove tissue in order to reshape the cornea. The eye heals itself after the flap is replaced.
Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
The LASEK procedure removes a very thin layer of the eye’s surface before laser energy is utilized to reshape the eye, and then the layer is replaced. This varies from LASIK in that the flap temporarily removed is much thinner and is created with a tool called a trephine, as opposed to a microkeratome cutting tool or laser as in LASIK.
Laser Thermal Keratoplasty (LTK)
Another quick, no-touch procedure, LTK utilizes a holmium laser to heat the cornea, shrinking the outer portion and, in effect, steepening the central cornea. Though vision shows improvement immediately, it can take up to three to six months for vision to settle.
Micro-thin Prescription Inserts (INTACS)
Clear arcs of plastic are inserted into the cornea (almost as tiny, internal contacts) through a small incision on the edge of the cornea. These inserts can be changed or removed completely if the patient’s vision changes.
Quite different from the other procedures listed, the scleral buckle has been around for about 75 years and is used to correct retinal detachment. A silicone band is wrapped around the eye vertically to cinch the edges of the eye closer to the vitreous, reducing the diameter, which relieves the pulling of the retina.