Is LASIK My Only Option?

Is LASIK My Only Option?

LASIK is a popular eye surgery that allows for excellent vision without wearing glasses or contact lenses. However, there are many people who wish to have this procedure but are not candidates for LASIK. Fortunately, there are other procedures that can also provide freedom from glasses and maybe a better fit. Depending on the reason that LASIK is not a viable option, other procedures such as PRK, implantable collamer lens (ICL), or clear lens exchange may be a better option.


Why is LASIK the Most Popular Option?

LASIK is the most commonly performed refractive surgery in the United States due to its high success rate, ease of recovery, quick results, and relatively inexpensive cost.

These factors have allowed LASIK to become very well known and have given it a well-deserved reputation for success.


When is LASIK Not an Option

While LASIK is a great option for many, there are cases in which LASIK is not an option.

If the prescription for glasses is too high or too large, LASIK may not be able to correct the prescription adequately.

Another concern that can prohibit LASIK from being safely performed is if the cornea is too thin to allow surgery on the eye.

Additionally, LASIK does not correct for reading and distance vision like a pair of bifocals, and anyone over the age of forty is likely to need reading glasses if LASIK is performed.


PRK in Place of LASIK

The most similar procedure to LASIK is PRK. PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is an older procedure that involves removing the corneal epithelium and lasering the underlying tissue.

LASIK uses a similar approach but instead of actually removing the corneal epithelium, it opens a flap that is then replaced on the cornea after the laser is complete.

PRK can be done on more prescriptions – both higher amounts of nearsightedness and astigmatism – than LASIK.

Additionally, PRK can be done safely when there is a particularly thin or irregular cornea whereas LASIK is not recommended.


Implantable Collamer Lens

When the prescription is too high for both LASIK and PRK, another option is an ICL (implantable collamer lens).

This is a lens that is placed in the eye in front of the natural lens and acts like a contact on the eye to provide clear vision and move when the eyes move.

An ICL is a great option for those who are very nearsighted and want to alleviate their dependence on contact lenses or glasses.


Lens Exchange Surgery

For individuals over forty or having issues with near vision, LASIK is usually not recommended.

In place of LASIK, it is often recommended that these individuals pursue a clear lens exchange surgery.

This surgery is the same procedure as cataract surgery but the lens is not cloudy with a cataract.

The natural lens is removed from the eye and replaced with a lens that can correct vision in the distance, up close, and at a computer distance range.


Choosing the Best Option Beyond LASIK

For most individuals, LASIK is the preferred choice of refractive surgery. However, if there are reasons that preclude you from having LASIK, there are many other options available.

Discussing what options you may have with your eye doctor and potential surgeon is a good way to find out what procedure is the best fit for you.


Dr. Jorge Malouf and the staff of the Malouf Eye specialize in a variety of ophthalmologic conditions and treatments including cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, strabismus surgery, neuro-ophthalmology exams, oculoplastics, diabetes, and more. Call our ophthalmologist in Tampa, FL today at 813-798-2020 if you are interested in learning more about refractive procedures including (but not limited to) LASIK. Our eye doctor provides only the highest quality eye care and surgical services amongst eye doctors in the Tampa, Florida area.