Have you been told in the past that you are not a candidate for LASIK Laser Vision Correction? Advancements in technology have made more people candidates for LASIK, but also there are other vision correction procedures available such as refractive lens exchange, PRK and Nearvision CK. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our practice to determine the best vision correction procedure for your eyes!
RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange)
Older adults, especially those who have never worn glasses, may assume LASIK is their only solution to getting back the clear vision they once had. However, due to the number of disqualifying factors, some people 40 and older may be disqualified as candidates for LASIK.
Refractive lens exchange (RLE) replaces your eye’s natural lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure is typically reserved for patients who experience a change in their vision do to the natural aging of the eye.
Lens replacement surgery is identical to cataract surgery; the difference is that RLE replaces a clear lens rather than a lens that has become cloudy due to a cataract. As in cataract surgery, the types of artificial lenses available with lens replacement surgery are the same and depend on the health of your eyes.
Premium lenses are used during RLE – there are multiple lenses that may be used and your Honolulu eye doctor will help to determine the best one for your visual expectations as well as your medical needs. Click here to learn more about premium lenses.
PRK (Photo-Refractive Keratotomy)
If you have been doing some LASIK research you may come across a term called PRK. PRK is a form of laser vision correction that was actually FDA approved before LASIK eye surgery and may have potential benefits for you. PRK is very similar to LASIK and both of these eye surgery techniques are referred to as refractive surgery. PRK was the first laser refractive surgery approved by the FDA receiving final approval in 1995. PRK is a safe refractive procedure that utilizes the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism much like LASIK eye surgery. The amount of tissue reshaped depends on the severity of the prescription. In most cases, 5 to 10 percent of the cornea is removed. Once the cornea has flattened, light rays are more easily focused upon the retina. PRK differs from LASIK in that no flap of tissue is created prior to resculpting the cornea with the excimer laser. In LASIK this flap creation does enable a faster recovery period.
The procedure can be performed once the eye has been numbed with anesthetic drops. A speculum will be positioned to hold your eyelids back just like in LASIK so that you eyelids will not interrupt the actual surgery. The ophthalmologist will then remove the outer cornea cells and proceed with the actual laser treatment. The laser is then positioned to directly treat the cornea. This laser delivery takes less than one minute to complete for most patients. Once the laser treatment or refractive ablation is completed, the corneal curvature is reshaped, thus improving the refractive error. Your ophthalmologist will then place a bandage contact lens on the eye for improved comfort along with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops.
PRK is an effective alternative to LASIK for many potential refractive surgery patients. PRK results are very similar to LASIK results. In general, PRK patients will have a somewhat slower recovery period. Please feel free to consult one of our staff to better understand the advantages of PRK and whether or not this would be a good option for your vision.
Post-operatively, most patients will need to be re-evaluated one day, three days, one week, one month, two to three months, and four to six months following the PRK procedure. The bandage contact lens can usually be removed on the second or third post-operative day when the epithelium is healed. Most patients will only require eye drops to control healing during the first 6 to 12 weeks, but other patients may require topically applied medications for up to 6 months or more following the procedure. In general, the greater the refractive error, the more likely the patient is to require eye drop medications for a prolonged period following the procedure.