It often surprises those considering laser eye surgery that there is more than one type of treatment. The assumption that all laser eye surgery involves a surgeon using a laser to correct vision might be correct as a general rule, but the specific procedures that that surgeon can use and why each might be used to treat a particular patient can differ.
The benefit of more than one type of laser eye surgery is that it allows a more significant number of corrective vision needs to be treated, and it also leaves open laser eye surgery options for those whose eyes might previously not be deemed suitable for laser eye surgery. Doubtless, as research and technology advance, additional types of laser eye surgery will be developed. In the meantime, here are the five main laser eye surgery treatments you could be offered.
LASIK is an abbreviation for ‘Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis’ and can treat astigmatism, short-sightedness, and long-sightedness. As these three account for over 80% of treatable eye conditions, you will understand why LASIK is the laser eye surgery most often performed. Surgery involves using a precision laser to create a flap in the cornea to allow the surgeon to reshape the cornea and thus correct a patient’s vision. The surgery takes minutes, and recovery is quick.
Despite the name, SMILE is not a dental treatment but stands for ‘Small Incision Lenticule Extraction’, a laser eye surgery less invasive than LASIK because no flap is created. A femtosecond laser with a tiny beam makes a microscopic incision in the cornea. This allows the surgeon to remove a lenticular, a small piece of corneal tissue. This change in the shape of the cornea is what corrects the patient’s patients
PRK stands for ‘Photorefractive Keratectomy’, and you will be pleased to know the treatment is not as complicated as the name suggests. First, the surgeon will carefully remove cells from the cornea’s surface. Next, an excimer laser will reshape the cornea, which corrects the patient’s visipatient’sar to LASIK; PRK is used with patients with irregularly shaped or thin corneas or severe dry eye syndrome.
Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)
As the name suggests, ICL involves inserting a contact lens within the eye rather than onto your eyeball, which is how traditional contact lenses are used. The process consists of the lens being rolled into a tiny cylinder and the surgeon inserting it behind the eye’s iris. Once there, the lens unrolls and is undetectable. Unlike regular contact lenses, no maintenance is required. ICL is primarily for treating short-sightedness and those unsuitable for LASIK.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
RLE can be used to treat several eye conditions, especially for those over 40. The process utilises ultrasound, which is the procedure used to remove and replace the current lens with an intraocular lens. This is a tiny artificial lens and, once inserted, should last a lifetime. Although the surgeon removes and replaces a lens, the procedure usually takes only 10 minutes per eye, and vision is normalised within a few days.