Today, there is a wide array of vision correction procedures to choose from, ranging from LASIK and cataract surgery to blepharoplasty and PRK. If you have a vision problem, it’s likely that there is a vision correction procedure that can improve it.

We’ve outlined the most popular vision correction procedures below:

LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK eye surgery involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea. This reshaping allows light to focus correctly on the retina, improving vision. LASIK can effectively correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

LASIK has one of the highest satisfaction rates of any surgery, with most patients very satisfied with the results of the procedure. Choosing a doctor with extensive experience and expertise, including a good understanding of the latest technology, can ensure the best results.

PRK

types of vision correction proceduresSimilar to LASIK, PRK involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea. However, PRK removes the outer layer of the cornea, and it eventually grows back.

PRK is sometimes an option when people aren’t good candidates for LASIK. For example, people with thin corneas, severe myopia, or certain medical conditions that exclude them from LASIK may be eligible for PRK.

SMILE

SMILE, or small incision lenticule extraction, is another type of laser vision correction procedure. There is no flap created with SMILE. The surgery is used to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism, but it cannot correct farsightedness.

Here’s how these laser vision correction procedures compare:

  LASIK PRK SMILE
Visual results Excellent Excellent Excellent
Treats nearsightedness? Yes Yes Yes
Treats farsightedness? Yes Yes No
Treats astigmatism? Yes Yes Yes
Recovery time Quick Up to 1 month Quick
Immediate visual acuity? Yes No, but improves during healing process Yes
Patient satisfaction rate High High High

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S., with very high success rates.

During surgery, the surgeon removes the natural lens of the eye, which has become cloudy due to the cataract, and replaces it with an intraocular lens.

The result is much clearer vision. If you needed glasses for distance or reading, you’ll likely still need them after cataract surgery unless you get an intraocular lens that corrects the issue. Otherwise, the goal of cataract surgery is to restore your vision to how it was before the cataract formed.

Corneal Cross-Linking

This innovative procedure is used to treat a weak or distorted cornea.

Corneal cross-linking derives its name from the way the procedure “cross-links” or adds bonds between corneal fibers, thereby stabilizing and strengthening the cornea. During the procedure, riboflavin eye drops and UV light are used to encourage the development of stronger fibers.

Corneal Transplant

A corneal transplant may be needed when the cornea is irreversibly damaged, such as from severe infection or trauma. This is usually a last resort and only done when other less invasive treatment methods have been unsuccessful.

It is known as the most successful form of organ transplant due to the fact that the cornea does not have vasculature. This minimizes the chances of rejection.

Glaucoma Surgery

Glaucoma surgery is used to reduce pressure in the eye when other methods, such as eye drops, are not working effectively. The goal of this surgery is to stabilize vision and prevent future vision loss from glaucoma.

Vitrectomy

This surgical procedure is done on the retina or vitreous with the goal of preserving vision.  During vitrectomy, the surgeon removes the vitreous of the eye and replaces it with a gel-like substance.

Vitrectomy is used to treat various conditions, including retinal detachment, severe eye injury, a macular hole, eye infection, and diabetic retinopathy, among others.

Ptosis Surgery

If a person has ptosis, surgery is often needed to improve vision. During the procedure, the surgeon shortens the eyelid muscles to repair droopiness, allowing for unobstructed vision.

Both children and adults may get ptosis surgery. If congenital ptosis isn’t corrected, it puts the child at risk for later vision issues.

Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty is a surgery used to correct and lift droopy eyelids. It is primarily a cosmetic procedure, though it is sometimes needed functionally to keep drooping eyelids from obstructing vision.

Whereas ptosis surgery involves shortening the eyelid muscles, blepharoplasty involves removing excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids. This sagginess is often due to the loss of collagen associated with the aging process.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

No matter which vision correction procedure you need, it’s important to choose an experienced surgeon. Ensure the doctor you choose is well-versed in the latest technology and surgical methods. Their expertise can make a big difference in your long-term results.

References

The Evolution of Cataract Surgery. (January–February 2016). Missouri Medicine

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Is Safe and Effective for Patients With Myopia and Thin Corneas. (Summer 2016). Medical Hypothesis, Discovery & Innovation Ophthalmology Journal.

Collagen Cross-Linking: Current Status and Future Directions. (January 2012). Journal of Ophthalmology.

Corneal Transplantation in the Modern Era. (July 2019). Indian Journal of Medical Research.

What Is Ptosis? (February 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Blepharoplasty: An Overview. (January–June 2009). Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery.

The 25th Anniversary of Laser Vision Correction in the United States. (March 2017). Clinical Ophthalmology.

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