Before we discuss what refractive surgery is, let’s discuss why it should even be considered an option. We can see the world because of the way our eyes refract light. For the eyes to form a clear image, light rays pass across the cornea accordingly to the lens, then this glimmer must hit the retina that encompasses the light-sensitive tissues at the rear of the eyes (photoreceptors).

These cells proceed to convert the glare to electrical signals that will be transmitted to the optic nerve and stimulate the physiological performance that enables the brain to converts these signals to a clear silhouette.

Refractive mistakes are eye troubles caused by a defectively shaped cornea that affects the perception and cause cloudy vision. These mistakes are nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and presbyopia.

One may possess a diagnosis with any of these eye errors and might be considering possible ways out. These eye troubles could be amended with eye lenses, corrective glasses, or refractive surgery recommendations.

So, before seeking a professional consultant, a few things about refractive eye surgery should be kept in mind:

Definition

Refractive surgery is a surgical operation used to repair refractive mistakes in the human eye. Successful surgery could cure common problems like myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. It curtails or eliminates the desire for glasses or contact lenses and also enhances the deflective state of the eye. Additionally, by modifying the shape of the eyes, replacing the lens, or infusing a new lens, refractive surgery helps correct the eyes’ ability to analyze objects better. It is important to seek a trained and certified eye specialist to get a refractive surgery.

Is Refractive Surgery Effective?

Currently, there is no universally favorable treatment for modifying refractive mistakes. The promising alternative should nonetheless be concluded after meticulous assessment and dialogue with an ophthalmologist. Regardless, surgery is a very effective method in treating different ailments that affect perception, and it’s also an adequate way to reduce reliance on vision-correcting wears. The ophthalmologist who performs this modifying surgery is called a refractive surgeon. There are numerous refractive surgeries performed to modify specific eye defects. Listed below are the different types of operations, their procedures, and when they are most needed:

Laser In-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)

Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism can be fixed efficiently using this technique. LASIK is known to carry better results as drawbacks that could develop damage of perception occur uncommonly, and the satisfactory outcome is quite high. Aftermaths like dry eyes and optical disturbance are prevalent, but they exist temporarily and are not necessarily a long-term problem. Surgical tools like the femtosecond beam or a microkeratome are utilized in slashing the cornea. The snipped membrane is then lifted, and a beam is used to rebuild the shape of the affected eye. Replacing the affected cornea in LASIK helps to amend the refractive mistake and quicken the healing process.

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)

This technique is done with an excimer beam to modify the shape of the cornea and is used to treat eye defects like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With PRK, a calculated amount of membrane is peeled off the outer surface. A bandage is then placed on the eye to help accelerate the healing process of the epithelial tissue and is utilized for three to four days to heal beneath the lens after surgery.  It should be noted that to correct severe myopia, LASIK is a reasonable and safer alternative.

Radial keratotomy (RK)

This surgical process is occasionally utilized to correct low degrees of myopia and astigmatism. A surgical tool labeled “the diamond scalpel” is wielded to create incisions on the cornea to compress and modify its shape and helps to reduce the eye defect. However, because of these many incisions, it takes a while to heal. As a result, radial keratotomy has been displaced by LASIK because it is a favorable substitute, and can correct overwhelming cases of myopia.

Astigmatic keratotomy (AK)

This technique is part of the incisional era of corneal refractive surgery, and it is used to repair astigmatism. A curved incision is made on the cornea to correct the eye defect.

Automated lamellar keratopathy (ALK)

This technique is used to repair irregular curvature in the cornea. This defect prevents glares from prevailing accurately on the retina, thereby causing clouded vision. ALK is suitable for abnormalities like myopia and hyperopia.

A microkeratome is wielded to generate an incision on the cornea to produce a flap that is opened and specifically incised and constructed. The flap is then sealed and supposed to repair inherently. Eye drops can be prescribed for distress and rash, and also prevent germs. The healing process takes a while, but clear vision enhances over a few weeks.

Laser thermal keratoplasty (LTK)

This surgery is adequate for patients aged 40 and above, farsighted patients, and also patients with difficulty focusing on close up objects. There is no need for incisions in this surgery; however, heat from a laser is applied to the peripheral area of the cornea to modify its shape and shrink the collagen fibers.

Conductive keratoplasty (CK)

This procedure is used to correct hyperopia. Like LTK, it uses intense beam treatment to lessen collagen and modify the shape of the cornea. This technique might cause little to no discomfort. Studies show that vision improves almost immediately after the process.

Intracorneal ring (Intacs)

Intacs involves the implantation of thin rings into the cornea. These rings are used to change the curve of the cornea and improve vision. It helps treat mild forms of myopia. This method is easily reversible, unlike laser technique. When the rings are removed, the eyes will take a few weeks before returning to their original shape.

Conclusion

With all that has been said, it is paramount to consult a professional specialist before opting for refractive surgery.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Learn About Different Types of Refractive Surgery," in Medicalopedia, August 19, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9172/learn-about-different-types-of-refractive-surgery/].