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A Comprehensive Guide to Types of Refractive Surgery | PVRI

Types of Refractive Surgery

In the field of vision correction, refractive surgery has emerged as a game changer for those who are looking for independence from spectacles and contact lenses. As technology progresses, new types of refractive surgery options have emerged, each catering to different needs and preferences. 

In this blog, we will discuss popular procedures such as LASIK and PRK, as well as lesser-known solutions that expand beyond conventional horizons.

Understanding Refractive Surgery

Refractive surgery seeks to reshape the cornea, the clear front section of the eye, to enhance how light enters the eye and focuses on the retina. This procedure can efficiently treat common vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. When it comes to refractive surgery, two main rivals stand out: LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy).

What is LASIK?

LASIK, often regarded as the gold standard in refractive surgery, has grown in popularity because of its precision and quick recovery time. A microkeratome or a femtosecond laser is used to create a thin flap on the cornea during this outpatient treatment. An excimer laser is then used to ablate the underlying corneal tissue, correcting the refractive defect.

Over 700,000 LASIK treatments are performed in the United States alone each year, according to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).

One of the primary benefits of LASIK is its quick recovery time, with many patients enjoying improved vision within a day or two. The technique is nearly painless, and most patients report only minor discomfort during and after the procedure.

What is PRK? 

While LASIK is the most popular procedure, PRK is a viable alternative for people with thinner corneas. The outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is carefully removed before the excimer laser is used to ablate the underlying tissue in PRK.

Although PRK requires a slightly longer recovery period than LASIK, it does not have the risk of flap-related problems. Furthermore, PRK is frequently favoured by people who participate in contact sports or work in occupations that put their eyes in danger.

Exploring Advanced Options of Refractive Surgery

As technology advances, newer and more advanced refractive surgery possibilities emerge, pushing the boundaries of what was previously thought possible.

  • SMILE 

It stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. This is relatively new to the scene and is a flapless treatment that focuses on minimal invasion. SMILE involves the use of a femtosecond laser to make a small incision through which a lenticular is removed. This novel procedure decreases the danger of dry eyes and allows for a speedy recovery, making it an appealing option for people looking for less intrusive alternatives.

  • LASEK 

It stands for Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis. This is a type of laser epithelial keratomileusis. LASEK is a hybrid of LASIK and PRK and offers the best of both worlds. The epithelium is loosened and pulled aside with an alcohol solution, allowing the surgeon to restructure the cornea. When compared to PRK, the epithelial layer is then rearranged, resulting in a faster healing process. LASEK is very effective for people who have thin corneas or other LASIK contraindications.


Your vision is a precious gift; let the advancements in refractive surgery help you cherish it with newfound clarity. The choices in the ever-evolving landscape of refractive surgery may seem overwhelming. However, each option holds unique benefits tailored to individual needs.

From the time-tested precision of LASIK and the steadfast reliability of PRK to the cutting-edge advancements in SMILE and LASEK, the world of refractive surgery offers a diverse array of solutions for achieving visual clarity.

Categories : Refractive Surgery

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