Refractive surgery options

Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)

In PRK, urgeons correct your vision by reshaping the corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. PRK is most often used to treat low to moderate levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

PRK treats refractive error by removing tissue from the surface of the cornea. Before the procedure, your eye is numbed using "eye drop" anesthesia and an instrument is placed between the eyelids to prevent blinking. In less than two minutes, your surgeon, using a laser, removes the proper amount of tissue and reshapes the cornea's surface.

By altering the shape or placement of the laser beam, the cornea is made flatter to treat nearsightedness, steeper to treat farsightedness, and/or more rounded to treat astigmatism. You will wear a bandage contact lens for three to five days after the surgery. Your surgeon may recommend treating one eye at a time because recovery with this surgery may take longer.

Laser In-Situ Keratomleusis (LASIK)

LASIK corrects your vision by reshaping the corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. It combines the use of an instrument called a microkeratome to create a flap of cornea tissue which is lifted up while the laser is used to reshape the underlying surface.

LASIK differs from PRK in that it corrects vision by reshaping the corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea rather than on the surface. LASIK combines the accuracy of the laser with the healing benefits of a surgical procedure called lamellar keratoplasty.

After your eye has been numbed using "eye drop" anesthesia, an eyelid holder is placed between your lids to prevent blinking. Your surgeon then makes a protective flap in the cornea. During this process you may feel a little pressure, but no discomfort. Using a laser, the protective flap is folded back in place where it bonds without the need for stitches.

Because LASIK is performed under a layer of protective tissue, there is less surface area to heal, less risk of corneal haze, less postoperative discomfort, and less need for postoperative medication. Your vision also returns more rapidly–often within a day or so. LASIK can also be used to treat higher ranges of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK carries more surgical risk than PRK.

Custom ablation

Custom ablation, custom LASIK, or wavefront LASIK provides a new addition to refractive surgery. Custom ablation is an automatic way to create a unique laser treatment for each patient.

Custom LASIK combines the use of the STAR S4 Excimer Laser System with the WaveScan Wavefront System created the CustomVue Procedure.

What is Wavefront?

Wavefront is a technology that is able to determine and measure aberrations of the cornea beyond that of conventional eye examination techniques that only identify and measure myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

Wavefront measures the individual imperfections in your eye much more precisely than traditional means. It produces an individualized and detailed "map" or the surface of your eye and generates digital information that can be transferred directly to the laser

What is CustomVue?

Wavefront LASIK combines the use of the STAR S4 Excimer Laser System with the WaveScan Wavefront System to created the CustomVue Procedure.

The combination of the Wavefront scan with the LASIK procedure can increase the precision and accuracy of the laser vision correction. Studies have shown that CustomVue has a higher percentage of patients with a 20/20 outcome. CustomVue has also been shown to reduce side effects of starburst and halo.

Laser Subepithelial Keratomileusus (LASEK)

LASEK combines certain elements of PRK and LASIK. LASEK is similar to PRK because the treatment is performed on the cornea's surface.

After numbing your eye with anesthetic drops, your surgeon loosens the epithelium (outer surface) with a diluted alcohol solution and pushes it aside. The surgeon then uses a laser to treat the cornea surface, similar to PRK and LASIK procedures. The epithelial flap is returned to its original position, and a bandage contact lens is placed during the healing process.

INTACS (corneal ring segments)

INTACS, also known as corneal ring segments, are placed in the periphery of the cornea, flattening the center. They are an alternative to laser vision procedures. Placing INTACS in the periphery of the cornea allows it to flatten in the center. Surgeons use INTACS to treat low levels of nearsightedness.

Your eye is numbed with anesthetic drops. Next, a small incision is made and two mall semicircular tunnels are made in the cornea. The ring segments are then placed in these tunnels. Surgeons frequently close the incision with a stitch and remove it anywhere from one week to three months later. A bandage contact lens helps with your initial healing. INTACS are removable and replaceable.

If you are not satisfied with the change in vision using the INTACS, they can be removed. Additionally, if your vision changed, different size rings can be inserted.


IntraLase replaces the hand-held microkeratome blade with a silent, computer-guided laser; with the precision of the laser, you can now have greater assurance of a safer procedure and an excellent result.

Verisyse™ Phakic IOL

The Verisye™ Phakic IOL is a plastic lens that is surgically inserted between the cornea and the iris in the eye to treat myopia (nearsightedness).

The Verisye™ Phakic IOL is used to treat nearsightedness (myopia) that can be corrected with lenses between -5 and -20 diopters. It is a plastic lens that is surgically inserted between the cornea and the iris in the eye.

This type of lens is called a phakic intraocular les (IOL), "phakic" refers to an eye that possesses its natural lens, thus a lens that is placed in an eye that has its natural lens is called a phakic IOLWA. (This is in contrast to intraocular lenses that are implanted into eyes after the natural lens is removed, such as in cataract surgery.)

Clinical evaluations have proven that PMMA can remain in the eye for decades without changing its properties or losing stability; however, the procedure is completely reversible. If, in the future, your surgeon determines that there is a better procedure, the Verisyse™ Phakic IOL can be surgically removed at any time. The Verisyse™ Phakic IOL does not eliminate the need for reading glasses and in some cases you may need reading glasses after surgery even if you did not need them before

Other vision correction options

REFLEX (Refractive Lens Exchange)

Patients with high degrees of farsightedness may be candidates for REFLEX. In this procedure, a small incision is made at the edge of the cornea and the natural lens is removed. The intraocular lens implant is then inserted into place. Refractive lens exchange is sometimes called Clear Lens Exchange, Clear Lens Extraction, and Refractive Lens Replacement.

Multifocal Intraocular Lenses (IOL)

These are available to patients undergoing cataract surgery or lens exchange surgery to allow both reading and distant vision without using glasses for most patients. Multifocal IOLs have two points of refraction (focal points). There is a refractive point for close-up vision and a refractive point for a distance vision.

Last reviewed: 
May 2019

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