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Types of corrective eye surgery

Monday, September 7, 2015 @ 10:09 AM
Author: Amit Mathur


People get or require eye surgery for a variety of reasons. There are a number of different types of eye surgery. Depending on what eye condition a patient has eye surgery may be necessary and unavoidable or it may be something the patient selects as an alternative to wearing glasses or contacts.

When a patient is considering corrective eye surgery as an alternative to wearing glasses or contacts for the rest of their life there are three main types of corrective eye surgery to chose from. All of them use a laser to reshape the cornea. They can be used to treat far-sightedness, near-sightedness and astigmatism all of which result from the shape of the eye. In the case of far-sightedness and near-sightedness light hits the cornea at the wrong angle making it difficult to see either far away or nearby. With astigmatism the shape of the eye cause difficulty focusing on objects and blurred vision. A laser can reshape the eyes to correct these problems.

Most corrective surgeries result in permanent correction making it so that patients no longer have to wear contacts or glasses. The decision to get surgery is often based on cost savings in the long term through not having to purchase vision correction. It also assumes that the risks of complications associated with surgery are far outweighed by the potential benefits of having excellent vision after the surgery.


There are three types of corrective surgery. The first is laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis known as LASIK. During the surgery a laser is used to reshape the cornea.


Photorefractive keratectomy known as PRK and laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy known as LASEK are the other two. PRK and LASEK are very similar. PRK uses a laser to vaporise part of the tissue in the outer cornea. Recovery times are often longer for PRK than LASIK. The main advantage of PRK is that no corneal flap is created unlike with LASIK surgery. The flaps can cause problems with night vision and a number of other complications.


LASEK surgery uses a very similar technique to PRK. Instead of removing the epithelium a solution is used to weaken it so it can be moved to the side while the cornea is reshaped. It is put back in place after laser work on the cornea is finished.


The type of risks depend in part on the type of laser eye surgery chosen. LASIK has a larger risk of dry eyes and vision distortions resulting from the flap created by the surgery. PRK and LASEK have longer recovery times.

Dry eyes are a potential complication of all three types. It is possible for long-term vision problems to develop as a result of surgery.

With any surgery there is always the risk of infection, which in the eyes can lead to vision loss. Infection risks for laser eye surgery are lower than they are for contact usage.

Starbusts and halos may develop in the patient’s vision during the healing process and as a permanent problem. These problems are most common at night.

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