There are many treatment options available to improve vision health, including laser eye surgeries. Because not all vision problems affect patients and their lives in the same way, a diverse set of vision correction technologies are required so your laser eye surgery specialist can customize treatment pending your unique profile. For people who are not suitable for LASIK procedures or who have a vision problem that cannot be properly addressed by LASIK, there remains a wide range of clinical solutions available. These include alternative laser eye surgery options, along with surgical and non-surgical options.
Understanding LASIK Candidacy
While LASIK is a safe and effective procedure, it’s not always the right solution for every set of eyes. During your complimentary evaluation, our team will perform a comprehensive review of your vision health. Some of the key elements in determining LASIK candidacy include:
- At least 18 years of age
- A stable vision prescription for at least one year prior to LASIK
- The magnitude of your vision prescription
- Corneal thickness (reflects the amount of corneal tissue each eye has)
- Not pregnant, nursing, or currently planning to become pregnant.
Certain eye health issues, including chronic dry eye and misshapen cornea, may also affect LASIK candidacy. The good news is that there are quite a few options for addressing vision problems, even if you are unable to qualify for LASIK.
PRK Laser Eye Surgery
PRK is short for photorefractive keratectomy, a procedure that is very similar to LASIK. The primary difference is that PRK does not require the creation of a flap in the cornea (the outer layer of the eye). Just as with LASIK, PRK laser eye surgery also addresses vision problems by gently reshaping corneal contours and its overall shape. The healing process for PRK takes slightly longer, but the visual outcome is otherwise similar. Because it doesn’t require the creation of a flap, PRK may be an option for people with thinner corneas and others who are unable to have LASIK.
Intraocular Lens (IOL)
An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial replacement for the eye’s natural lens, which is commonly used to address cataract that has developed inside of an eye. During a cataract surgery, an IOL is used to replace the natural lens that has become cloudy. Intraocular lenses may also be used to address presbyopia, which occurs naturally as our eyes age and can lead to visual difficulties with reading and/or focusing on close objects. It is common to begin feeling the effects of presbyopia around age 40.
Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)
The acronyms may be similar, but an implantable contact lens (ICL) is actually a bit different from an intraocular lens (IOL). Implantable contact lenses work just like contact lenses, and are surgically inserted inside of an eye to address common vision problems like nearsightedness and astigmatism. An ICL is not intended to replace the eye’s natural lens; it can be an option for people who are unable to have LASIK and especially in those cases with high vision prescriptions.
Contacts and Eyeglasses
For people who are under 18 years of age or otherwise unable to have the surgical procedures mentioned above, there are still proven, effective non-surgical options to address vision correction. Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are still viable options for correcting common vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
During your laser eye surgery evaluation, you’ll learn much more about the options available, and which one best fits your needs. There are many ways to improve quality of your vision, and your eyes deserve the best.