Alternatives to LASIK

LASIK is the best-known vision correction procedure, but it’s not the only method for correcting refractive vision errors. After an eye exam and discussing your vision goals, our surgeons will help you decide which vision correction procedure is best for you and your lifestyle.

Other procedures include:

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Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a surgical correction that removes a natural lens from the eye and replaces it with a clear plastic intraocular lens (IOL). Once in place, the IOL acts as an internal contact lens behind the iris of the eye. The procedure is very similar to cataract surgery, one of the most commonly performed eye surgeries. The implant allows your eye to better focus on objects, reducing the need for glasses or contacts. There are several different types of IOL implants available today, and we’ll help you determine which one is best for your vision.

Types of RLE Lens Implants:

Standard intracocular lens implants

A standard mono-focal IOL has one point of focus, which is usually distance vision. If you choose a standard IOL, you will generally need glasses for near activities like reading. On the other hand, if your mono-focal IOLs are focused on near vision, you would need glasses to see distant objects clearly. This is the case even if you didn’t need glasses before surgery.

Custom intracocular lens implants

Custom IOLs are a revolutionary advance over the standard mono-focal IOL. Medical Eye Center was one of the first eye practices in the country to offer these premium lens implants for patients who choose custom cataract surgery. Your doctor will help determine which implant is best for you.

Options include:

Multi-focal intracocular lens implants

A multi-focal IOL contains multiple zones that focus light at a variety of distances, allowing you to see a continuous range of vision without glasses. This results in excellent visual acuity of close up and far away objects. Many patients report the ability to read small print and see distances, both without glasses. The Alcon ReSTOR® IOL is the multi-focal IOL we have chosen for our patients. This lens can however, produce rings or halos around bright lights and may make it difficult to see in low light situations, such as driving at night. While most patients adapt to this effect over a period of several months, the ReStor IOL is be a good choice if near vision is your priority.

Accommodating intracocular lens implants

An accommodating IOL is designed to flex much like your eye’s healthy, natural lens, providing a continuous range of vision as you constantly change focus on the world around you. The Crystalens® IOL is the only FDA approved accommodating IOL. This lens has the ability to “accommodate,” or change shape, allowing it to focus on both far and near objects. The Crystalens IOL tends to provide excellent distance and intermediate vision. Most patients can function well without glasses for distance and casual reading, but may need glasses for fine print and very close work. Click here to learn more about the Crystalens IOL.

Toric intracocular lens implants

If you have astigmatism, your surgeon may recommend a Toric IOL which helps restore clarity to distance vision. Correcting astigmatism once required that tiny limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) be made in the cornea to change its shape. Now Toric IOLs can replace the need for these incisions in patients with mild to moderate astigmatism. For those with higher levels of astigmatism, a combination of technologies may be used. Generally, these procedures reduce the thickness of your glasses at all distances and may also reduce your reliance on glasses for distance vision.

Read our FAQs on Refractive Lens Exchange

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An Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) provides laser vision correction for patients with high amounts of nearsightedness (myopia) who are not candidates for LASIK. This technically advanced lens material is made of 100% pure collagen copolymer, which is compatible with your body’s natural chemistry. It transmits light very similarly to your natural lens because the collagen copolymer’s characteristics are nearly identical to the human crystalline lens. And as an added feature, it contains a UV blocker that actually helps prevent harmful UVA and UVB rays from entering the eye.

Unlike cataract surgery, ICL does not require the removal of the eye’s crystalline lens, and unlike LASIK or other refractive procedures, the ICL procedure does not involve the removal of sensitive eye tissue. This short outpatient procedure takes approximately 15 minutes, wherein the ICL is inserted into the eye through a micro-opening. The lens unfolds in the eye and is positioned between the iris and the natural lens where it stays indefinitely. This makes the procedure efficient and dramatically reduces healing time. In fact, you will experience full recovery typically in 1-2 days, with minimal discomfort.

Your eye surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for ICL based on your correction needs, eye health, medical history and desired outcome for refractive surgery.

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Intacs corneal implants gently reshape the curve of your cornea from within, in order to correct mild nearsightedness. The implants can be replaced or removed if your laser vision correction needs change. Unlike laser surgery, no corneal tissue is removed.

These micro-thin implants are inserted under the outer edge of your cornea during a brief outpatient procedure. You cannot feel Intacs corneal implants once they have been inserted. Intacs corneal implants are approved by the FDA and are FAA approved for pilots.

Intacs corneal implants are an exciting option for individuals who find it intolerable to wear contact lenses and are facing a corneal transplant. These implants may be the best possible option to stabilize the cornea, improve vision, and potentially defer the need for a corneal transplant.

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Like LASIK, PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) reshapes the cornea in order to improve vision deficits caused by myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. During PRK, our surgeons use the Excimer Laser to gently reshape the cornea by removing cells from its surface. One of the key differences between LASIK and PRK is that during PRK, cells are removed directly from the corneal surface, rather than under the corneal flap created during LASIK. For this reason, PRK is often more appropriate for people with thin corneas.

“I’m an outdoorsman—and that just doesn’t go with glasses.”
Rex Walters