Laser eye surgery is the kind of surgery performed on the eyes to improve or correct the current state of vision of an eye. This is why these are also called vision correction surgery or refractive and laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery is different for everyone. The surgery which is best for you might not be best for someone else. Types of laser eye surgery depend on many factors such as the condition of the eye, overall health condition of the patient and also budget and location. In this article, we will talk about many types of laser eye surgery which are generally performed as a treatment for different eye problems.
PRK is the short form of Photo Refractive Keratectomy. It is the first-ever laser eye surgery. All the other kinds of laser eye surgeries are derived from this surgery. The PRK surgery is nowadays replaced by LASIK surgery. Now, PRK is not as popular as it used to be. Yet, some doctors still prefer to use PRK over LASIK or any other surgeries for some patients. This surgery is used to treat problems like myopia or nearsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, etc.
PRK surgery is a blade-free surgery. No incisions are made on the surface of the cornea i.e. the frontal part of the eye. Rather than cutting through the cornea and reshaping it from inside, in PRK, the reshaping work is done from the outside of the eye. A topical solution is used on the outer layer of the eye to remove the epithelial tissue of the cornea. Then the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea and solve the refractive issues. When the operation is finished, a contact lens is placed on top of the eye for the first four days which works as a bandage.
PRK surgery is a bit uncomfortable for the patient.
LASIK is the most popular laser eye surgery all around the globe. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted in-situ Keratomileusis. It is the most common types of laser eye surgery of the current time because it has the least pain and discomfort and quickest recovery time. It can also treat most of the refractive issues of the eye. Myopia or nearsightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, and many more problems can be treated by LASIK surgery.
It is also a bladeless surgery where a flap is made by the surgeon in the outer layer of the eye. This makes the tissue to go underneath and reveal the underlying corneal tissue. Then, a laser which is also called the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea by removing some of the corneal tissues and make corrections to the angle of refraction of light. This whole procedure takes about only 10 minutes per eye.
After performing this surgery, any kind of side effects discloses rarely. Almost most of the time the operation becomes successful and the patient’s visual condition improves. Another good thing about this surgery is that the whole time during the procedure and afterward is painless or less painful than any other type of surgeries.
LASIK surgery also has some subdivisions:
Wavefront-guided LASIK: An updated and a lot of correct type of LASIK, this involves employing a 3-dimensional computer-generated image of the tissue layer before the eye being reshaped with the Excimer. This makes it considerably a customized treatment.
Wavefront-optimized LASIK: Takes a detailed measurement of the shape and size of the cornea to keep the natural shape of the outer surface of the eye and to reduce the failure of rays to converge at one focus because of a defect in a lens of an eye.
All-laser LASIK: A femtosecond optical device is employed to form the tissue layer flap, eliminating the requirement for a bladed medical instrument to the touch the eye.
Topography-guided LASIK: In this type of LASIK a very detailed; unique and very high-quality image of your eye is produced by computer with help of very advanced technology to ensure a very personal treatment for your eye.
LASEK is another treatment to LASIK it is the Types of laser eye surgery and effective for a few of those patients who don’t seem to be suited to a LASIK procedure. The full form of LASEK is Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis. It is very similar to the procedure of PRK. Just like PRK, the epithelial tissue is removed at first. But instead of completely removing it from the eye, the epithelium is kept on the eye and used as a flap. When the removal of tissue is finished, the flap is set and secured with a soft contact lens so that it can heal. Then the rest of the process is similar to LASIK. After finishing the reposition of the tissue, a bandage contact lens is used to keep the eye secure.
Unlike LASIK, LASEK does not create the problem of dry eyes. But LASEK does take more time to heal than the LASIK procedure. And the LASEK surgery is not so suitable for the people with thin corneas.
LASEK gives the same result as LASIK surgery.
RLE means Refractive Lens Exchange. Some of its alternative names are PRELEX, clear lens exchange (CLE), clear lens extraction (CLE), and refractive lens replacement (RLR). This surgery is performed for correcting cataracts. The doctor makes a tiny low cut at the edge of the tissue layer. Then the surgeon removes the natural lens from your eye and replaces it with a plastic implant. The procedure will correct extreme hypermetropia or myopia. It works well for individuals with thin corneas, dry eyes, or any other minor cornea issues. A LASIK or LASIK-related procedure is often combined with RLE to correct astigmatism.
PRELEX is the short form of presbyopic lens exchange. It is a procedure used for treating farsightedness, or loss of flexibility in your eye (presbyopia). Presbyopia is a problem with the lens when a person cannot focus properly on a close object. To treat this problem, the doctor removes your lens and replaces it with a multifocal lens to improve the flexibility of the eye.
The full form of the name of the surgery SMILE is Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is a new type of surgery in which no blade and only one laser are used unlike LASIK (where two blades are used). This surgery is performed using minimally invasive, hole surgery where the laser makes a small 3-millimeter incision which creates a disc (lenticule) of corneal tissue. This disc is then removed to reshape the tissue layer and proper the refractive error. Since no flap was created, the highest layer of the tissue layer is basically intact.
The SMILE surgery is not suitable for hyperopia or long-sightedness or presbyopia.
Intacs are also called Intracorneal Ring Segments (ICR). For this procedure, the doctor makes a little incision within the corneal membrane. Two crescent plastic rings are placed at the outer layer of the cornea to flatten it. The two-dimensional membrane permits light rays to be altered within the path so that they can target the retina. ICR has been replaced by laser-based procedures to treat mild myopia.
Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants
Phakic intraocular lens implants are designed for those people who are too myopic for LASIK and PRK. The doctor makes a little incision at the surface of your cornea and either attaches the implant lens to your iris or inserts it behind your pupil. Unlike RLE, your natural lens stays in its very own place. Visian ICL is the main kind of phakic implant used.
AK means Astigmatic Keratotomy. Astigmatic Keratotomy is a surgery that corrects astigmatism while not utilizing a laser. Folks with astigmatism have corneas that are formed in the shape of a football and this surgery corrects that by creating one or two incisions at the sharpest part of the cornea. When the incisions are created, the tissue layer relaxes and takes a more rounded form. LRI has performed alone or with different laser eye surgeries.
PTK means Photo Therapeutic Keratectomy. This type of laser eye surgery treatment uses an excimer laser to remove any irregular tissue from the surface of the cornea and smoothen it. This surgery can also be combined with the PRK to treat refractive error issues.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty is the full form of SLT. It is a type of laser eye surgery performed to reduce the intraocular pressure in the eye. It becomes necessary for someone when the regular eye drop medications cannot lower the pressure in the eye or they are causing side effects.
This procedure is performed by passing laser energy through the drainage tissues inside the eye. The laser then results in causing chemical changes which eventually creates better drainage of fluid through the eyes.
The result of this surgery normally takes about a month or two to appear. The effect of SLT remains for 1-5 years. But, if the effect does not last for at least 6-12 months, then it should be considered as the surgery was not successful.
The full form of PRP is Pan Retinal Photocoagulation. This surgery is not performed for improving the vision of a person rather; it is used to prevent the visual system from sustaining any further loss. It is used in the cases where the blood circulation is jeopardized especially in the case of a diabetic patient. The laser is used here to create small photocoagulation in the retina and decrease the oxygen demand of the eye. Those are the main types of laser eye surgeries.