Refractive surgery has evolved since it’s beginning in the 1970’s. While early techniques laid the foundation for more modern techniques, today’s methods are safer, with improved visual outcomes.
akeye1Radial Keratotomy (RK) RK corrected low degrees of myopia by making small spoke-like incisions in the cornea. Discovered accidentally in 1971 by a Russian doctor who observed a patient’s vision improved after glass from an accident serendipitously cut a similar pattern. RK was effective, but sometimes inaccurate, and often caused halo and glare. No longer used, RK has been replaced by modern laser surgery.
eyeprkPhotorefractive Keratotomy (PRK)
Still commonly used and a good alternative to LASIK for some patients. PRK uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea. It differs from LASIK in that PRK takes place on the surface of the cornea after the epithelium (outer layer of cells) is removed. The reshaping options are the same as for LASIK. The advantage of PRK is that there is no corneal flap that must heal. The disadvantages are a longer visual recovery time and possible discomfort for several days.
Soon after PRK was approved, doctors discovered that faster recovery and greater patient comfort could be attained by creating a thin flap of the outer layers of the cornea using a handheld oscillating razor blade microkeratome, treating the inner layers with a laser, and returning the flap to its original position where it would serve as a natural bandage for the eye.
There are three main ways a laser can reshape the cornea.
1. Traditional, Standard Treatment: reshapes the cornea for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism (lower order aberrations) using roughly the same measurements used for glasses or contacts.
2. Wavefront Guided Treatment: treats the same problems as a traditional treatment, plus measures and treats higher order aberrations. A map is made by measuring thousands of unique points of each patient’s vision. This measures distortions that glasses and contacts do not correct. A wavefront guided treatment has a possibility of reducing halo and glare in some patients and may sharpen vision beyond what glasses and contacts can.
3. Wavefront Optimized Treatment: creates a treatment pattern that maintains the eye’s round, natural curve and helps produce crisp, sharp vision with the possibility of less night time halo and glare after surgery.
Hoopes Vision was the first Utah LASIK center able to perform all 3 types of treatments. To determine which option is best for you, please call (801)568-0200 for a complimentary LASIK exam, or ask for a complimentary LASIK book written by Dr. Hoopes and Dr. Hoopes, Jr., which will explain more options in greater detail.