Refractive Eye Surgeries

Understanding the Different Options

What is Myopia Management for Nearsighted Children

Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach
Dr. Eric Ikeda
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What is Myopia Management for Nearsighted Children

Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach
Dr. Eric Ikeda
See more
Refractive eye surgery is a method that surgeons use to correct your vision and improve your eyesight. While refractive surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the US, it is extremely important to fully understand your options and find the best surgeon that specializes in the procedure that best fits your needs. Optometrists that provide refractive surgery co-management can help you navigate the complexities of eye surgery and spend time with you before your surgery to make sure that you are fully educated in your decision, and after your surgery to ensure that your eyes are healing properly.

LASIK Refractive Surgery

LASIK is one of the most widely performed refractive surgeries and is a well-known procedure among patients. During LASIK, a laser is used to reshape the surface of your eye, also known as the cornea, to correct your vision. This procedure works by removing a portion of the cornea and then using the laser to reshape it so that light entering the eye is properly focused onto the retina.

PRK Refractive Surgery

PRK is another refractive surgery that is similar to LASIK in that it reshapes the cornea to correct the refractive error. However, the procedure itself is slightly different. Instead of creating a flap in the cornea, as is done in LASIK, the entire outer layer of the cornea is removed before the laser reshaping takes place. This allows the laser to directly access the underlying cornea and reshape it as needed.

ICL Refractive Surgery

ICL, or Implantable Collamer Lens, is a procedure that uses a fake lens with your prescription to correct your vision. The surgeon places the lens inside your eye, between the iris and your natural lens. This lens acts as a permanent solution for correcting your vision and you will not need glasses or contact lenses after the procedure.

Clear Lens Exchange and Cataract Surgery

Clear lens exchange and cataract surgery are two procedures that are similar in nature. In clear lens exchange, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a fake lens that carries your prescription. This procedure is performed on patients who do not have cataracts, but who wish to correct their vision. In cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a fake lens in patients who have developed cataracts over time.

Pre and Post Operative Care of Refractive Eye Surgeries

Preoperative care before a refractive eye surgery typically involves a comprehensive eye exam to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. During this appointment, your eye doctor will measure the corneal thickness and curvature, check for any pre-existing eye conditions, and assess the overall health of the eye. During the visit, your eye doctor will spend the time to ensure that you are fully educated in your decision and recommend trusted surgeons in their community. 

In the days and weeks following the procedure, it is important to attend follow-up appointments with your eye doctor. These appointments help to monitor the healing process and ensure that your eyes are healing properly. We may also adjust the prescription for glasses or contacts if necessary.

The Importance of a Thorough Eye Exam in Deciding on Refractive Surgery

To determine if you are a candidate for refractive surgery, it is important to have a thorough eye examination performed by an eye doctor that has experience with co-management. They will assess your overall eye health, the strength and stability of your prescription, and other factors such as age, general health, and corneal thickness to determine if refractive surgery is an option for you. It is important to remember that not all individuals may be a candidate for refractive surgery and that other factors such as certain medical conditions may also play a role in the decision to undergo this procedure. Ultimately, your eye doctor will provide guidance and recommendations based on your specific needs and eye health.

Refractive Surgeries: Are You a Good Candidate?

The specific criteria for being a candidate for refractive surgery may vary depending on the type of surgery, your age, overall health, and other factors.

It's important to note that not all individuals are suitable candidates for refractive surgery, and only a thorough eye exam by your optometrist can determine if a person is eligible. 

Some general guidelines include:

  • Being over the age of 18 and having a stable prescription for at least a year
  • Being in good general health
  • Not having certain medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders, dry eye syndrome, or certain corneal conditions
  • Having realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery

It's important for you to have a discussion with your optometrist about their individual case to determine if refractive surgery is a viable option for them.