Corrective vision surgery is a field that has made tremendous strides over the last few decades. In the past, eyeglasses, corrective contact lenses or even blindness were the only alternatives. However, modern surgical techniques make great vision possible for a wide spectrum of the population.
The earliest successful surgery for vision correction was radial keratotomy. This procedure involved cutting numerous incisions to flatten the surface of the eye. The procedure was primarily for correcting nearsightedness. Over the long term, a number of individuals claimed unpleasant side effects such as loss of night vision and glare.
Later years saw the innovation of photorefractive keratectomy, which removed tissue from the surface of the eye to change the cornea’s curvature. This procedure, known as PRK or surface ablation, is still in use today, but not as frequently as LASIK.
The most common and popular form of corrective eye surgery to replace corrective lenses today is LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis. In this procedure, the surgeon creates a corneal flap and uses a laser for reshaping.
The flap is then replaced to heal the eye. Some LASIK procedures work by creating a flap in the epithelium of the eye and using alcohol to float it away for the reshaping (LASEK). Others use a specific tool designed to lift the flap, rather than introducing alcohol into the eye (Epi-LASIK). Still others use a laser to create the flap, as opposed to a cutting tool (IntraLASIK). Another procedure known as Wavefront LASIK employs wavefront analysis to detect and adjust for subtle vision errors while the laser is correcting vision.
These are contact lenses for people with high levels of nearsightedness. Unlike traditional lenses that go outside the eye, these are actually implanted into the eye. With implantable lenses, there are clearly no concerns about removal or care under normal circumstances.
Cataract Surgery with Intraoclular Lenses (IOLs)
While not a replacement for corrective lenses, cataract surgery is necessary for removing cataracts that may develop on the eyes and obscure vision. Lens implants can improve vision during a cataract surgery procedure. These intraocular lenses actually replace your body’s natural lens. Some modern IOL’s may be multifocal, meaning you may not need reading glasses after receiving them.
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