Refractive Surgery Explained (LASIK – LASEK – PRK – RLE – Visian ICL – CK) – Greenbelt, MD

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About Refractive Surgery

Refractive vision errors are those visual impairments caused by an abnormal shape of the cornea. They include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related near vision loss), and astigmatism. Refractive surgeries are procedures that correct these refractive errors, either by reshaping the cornea via laser or by using implantable lenses.

The gifted eye surgeons of Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons have years of experience correcting the vision of Maryland area patients through a range of advanced vision correction procedures. Depending on your specific refractive error, the condition of your cornea, and your daily activities, we can provide LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), LASEK (laser-assisted epithelial keratomileusis), PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), CK (conductive keratoplasty), RLE (refractive lens exchange), or ICL (implantable collamer lens) surgery.

We perform ICL surgery utilizing Visian ICLs for myopia and myopia with astigmatism (toric ICL). The Visian Toric ICLs are the newest advancement in this procedure and are very exciting for patients with myopia and astigmatism. In fact, we are extremely proud of Dr. Jonathan Solomon who is the very first ocular surgeon in the Washington metropolitan area to implant the newly FDA-approved Visian Toric Lens.

Best Candidates

The best candidates for each type of refractive surgery are slightly different. Below are some of the important critera; however, each patient will need to visit Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Greenbelt or Bowie, MD for a thorough evaluation and consultation.

LASIK:
Although LASIK has helped millions of people reduce and even eliminate dependence on glasses, it is important to not assume that LASIK is the best option for you. Good LASIK candidates:

  • Have healthy eyes with adequate corneal tissue thickness
  • Have a stable glasses or contact lens prescription
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Are affected by one of the common types of vision problems (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism)
  • Have realistic expectations

LASEK and PRK:
LASEK and PRK are alternatives to LASIK that might be appropriate for patients who are not good LASIK candidates due to corneal thickness. Good LASEK and PRK candidates:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have healthy eyes and corneal tissue
  • Have a stable prescription for at least one year prior to surgery
  • Have been told their cornea is too thin or curved for LASIK
  • Have a highly active job or lifestyle (like athletes or combat personnel)

RLE SURGERY: 
Refractive lens exchange is an alternative to laser vision correction for patients who are severely near- or farsighted or who have been told they do not have enough corneal tissue. In RLE, your natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens designed to correct your refractive errors. Good candidates for RLE: 

  • Have overall good health
  • Are 21 – 80 years old
  • Have a stable refraction prescription
  • Do not have any eye infection

ICL SURGERY:

Implantable collamer lenses do not require removal of your natural lens. They are placed on top of your natural lens and work basically like a contact lens that sits permanently inside the eye. ICLs are only approved for vision correction in patients who have myopia (nearsightedness) and myopia with astigmatism. Patients who suffer from eye diseases, including keratoconus, may not qualify for this surgery.

The best way to find out whether you are a candidate is to schedule a personal consultation with Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons. 

What to Expect

Below are brief outlines of our refractive surgery procedures:

LASIK – LASIK corrects vision by changing the shape of the cornea utilizing an excimer laser. First, a very thin "flap" is created in the cornea. This flap is lifted so that the laser can sculpt your cornea based upon your individual prescription and a unique map of your eyes. The flap is then replaced over the sculpted corneal tissue. The procedure is extremely short – about 10 minutes at most – and requires very little downtime.

PRK – The PRK procedure was developed before LASIK, and it has helped millions of people worldwide achieve 20/20 vision or better. After the introduction of LASIK, the PRK procedure has generally been reserved for eyes with inadequate corneal thickness. This is because the PRK procedure does not involve the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the epithelium is fully removed and then grows back on its quite quickly.

CK – Conductive keratoplasty temporarily improves hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism through the use of radio waves. The eye is numbed, and then heat from the radio waves is precisely applied to specific spots around the edge of the cornea. The radio waves manipulate the collagen within the cornea, causing it to become steeper and improving near vision.

RLE Surgery – Refractive lens exchange surgery is exactly the same procedure as cataract surgery; however, the lens is removed to replace it with an artificial lens that corrects refractive errors as opposed to being removed to eliminate cataracts. The surgery lasts about 15 minutes per eye and is essentially painless.  

ICL Surgery – Implantable collamer lens surgery with Visian ICLs is a very quick, minimally invasive surgery that does not require the removal of your natural lens. Visian ICLs are literally injected into your eye through a microscopic opening, and they unfold themselves over your natural lens on their own. The opening created to place the ICL heals itself without sutures. Most patients are able to use their new vision immediately after the lenses are placed. 

Follow-Up

Following your procedure, you will need to return to Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons one or more times for progress monitoring. Most patients are asked to come back the day immediately after their procedure, and then further follow-ups will depend on your progress, the procedure you chose, and other factors.

Most patients of refractive surgery report that their vision is drastically improved almost immediately. LASIK and ICL surgery have only 2 – 7 days of recovery time while PRK does take a bit longer. However, even if your vision is perfect and you feel like you're healing well, you must show up to your follow-up appointments so we can truly monitor your progress.

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Refractive Error Repair

If you have been told in the past that you are not a candidate for LASIK, advancements in blade-free LASIK technology are allowing even more people to have laser vision correction. LASIK is not right for everyone, but at Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Solomon offers a variety of remarkable alternatives. A consultation at our Greenbelt or Bowie, MD office will allow our experienced team to determine the best vision correction procedure for you!

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.