The different types of refractive surgery

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Refractive surgery is a type of surgery that treats eyesight problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Operations that fit under this roof work by altering the shape of the cornea. The method by which the cornea is altered varies between the surgeries. The following are the most popular method of refractive surgeries.


LASIK or Laser in-situ keratomileusis is as the name suggests, a laser-assisted refractive surgery. On rough estimations, LASIK is considered the most sought after corrective vision surgery. Your surgeon will anesthetize. Later, your surgeon will begin by creating a corneal flap on the outermost layer of the eye. The fold will be book-cover like. In other words, the outermost layer of the eye will be flipped open to allow entrance for the laser beam. Consequently, your surgeon will utilize an excimer laser to reshape the cornea.

Reshaping the cornea is the key factor in treating vision-related problems. For instance, nearsightedness is a condition that results from a lens that is too curved in comparison to its length. The surgeon can easily reduce the curvature by altering the structure using a beam. As a result, the vision is permanently corrected. Once the surgery is over, your surgeon will flip the corneal flap over.



PRK or Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is the oldest version of corrective surgeries. The surgery is what initially paved the way for the emergence of LASIK. As opposed to LASIK, the operation requires more extended periods of recovery. As a result of its inconvenient recovery periods, PRK is mostly ideal for those with dry eyes or corneas that are thin. Your surgeon will determine that for you. The procedural differences are minor between PRK and LASIK. However slight the difference might seem, the consequences are more prominent.

PRK follows a similar process as the LASIK refractive surgery with a difference in opening the outermost layer of the eye. PRK entirely removes the corneal flap and disposes of it. Later, with an excimer laser, your surgeon will shape the cornea to correct your vision.

Since your surgeon completely disposed of the corneal flap, the surgeon ends by reshaping the cornea. The tissue will continue to grow on its own after surgery which is why PRK requires more extended recovery periods.

In summary

With techniques like PRK and LASIK on the scene, treatments such as Radial keratectomy have long disappeared. PRK or Photorefractive keratectomy is what paved the way for LASIK surgery. Both PRK and LASIK work by utilizing an excimer laser to reshape the cornea. With PRK, your surgeon will begin by anesthetizing your eyes and completely removing the corneal flap. Following the removal of the corneal flap, the cornea will be reshaped. As a result of the removal of the corneal flap, PRK requires more extended recovery periods as the corneal flap tissue regrows.

On the other hand, LASIK is the most sought out of all refractive surgery treatments. The procedure does not include the permanent removal of the corneal flap. Instead, its cut from one side and turned open to allow access for the excimer laser. After reshaping the cornea, the flap is turned over. Consequently, recovery periods are shorter.

If you have any questions about refractive surgeries, kindly contact us.

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