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EyeSearch is a Guide to Vision and the Eye, including information on glasses, contact lenses, eye diseases, eye surgery, laser surgery, including laser vision correction, and directories of eye specialists nationwide, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians and low vision services
February 1999
Volume 2

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Thanks for all your suggestions regarding topics for our Newsletter.

February’s topic is a suggestion from the United Kingdom.

This issue will focus on Vision Correction Surgery -
the different types, their advantages and disadvantages, and potential side effects.
 At the present time in the US
there are three types of vision correction surgery available to the public.  
The 3 types now in use all permanently change the shape of your cornea and are irreversible. 
There are risks and side effects with each procedure and not everyone is a candidate. 
The most common side effects of vision correction surgery  is over or undercorrection, halos or ghost images around objects and difficulty with night vision.

Each of the procedures discussed has a link to Eyesearch where more information is provided.
Radial Keratotomy 
was the first type of surgery commonly performed to correct vision.  A laser is not used in this procedure.  A surgeon makes radial incisions on the cornea.  This is often the least expensive choice but is generally not as safe or as precise as laser surgery.  It is also easy to overcorrect or undercorrect depending on the degree of myopia or nearsightedness.  Radial Keratotomy is much less frequently used since the approval of the excimer laser by the FDA . 
PhotoRefractive Keratectomy, PRK
involves an excimer laser beam removing small amounts of tissue from the cornea to flatten it.  The excimer produces a strong beam of ultraviolet light and the surgeon uses the laser in rapid pulses to flatten the cornea.  The light does not penetrate the eye.  PRK is usually performed on one eye at a time and you are under the laser for 1minute or less.  The entire process from start to finish is around 10 minutes. You may experience some pain and discomfort for 1-3 days following the procedure.  Eye drops are required during the healing process.  

Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis, LASIK
is a variation of the excimer laser and PRK. The surgeon uses a special instrument called a microkeratome to create a thin flap of cornea which is folded back and the laser treatment is then
performed under this flap.  The flap is then put back in place.  This generally offers more comfort and quicker visual recovery, but there are slight increased risks in the use of the microkeratome.  LASIK does offer advantages for those patients with high degrees of nearsightedness, because the risk of scarring with PRK increases when large amounts of tissue are removed from the cornea.  Both eyes are often done in one visit making it a more appealing choice for some candidates.

Intracorneal Rings, now called Intacs can be found at Other Vision Surgeries on EyeSearch.
This procedure does not involve a laser but is a surgical procedure.   In this procedure clear rings are placed inside the cornea to change the shape or flatten the cornea.  The main advantage is that the ring  segments can be removed if needed making this procedure reversible. The disadvantage is the limited range of nearsightedness it corrects.  At the present time this technique is not approved by the FDA.
Phakic Intraocular Lenses
is another new procedure not yet approved by the FDA but it may be useful for those with high degrees of power outside the range of PRK and LASIK.  This is an intraocular surgical procedure and has greater risks than the others mentioned.  This procedure also might prove to provide better vision since the implant used leaves the corneal shape undisturbed. 
If you are considering vision correction surgery, have a complete eye exam and talk with one or more eye surgeons about the benefits and risks.

As with any elective surgical procedure the benefits should outweigh the risks involved to you.
This is a very exciting area of eye care.  It is still hard for me to believe that eyesight can be corrected and the need for glasses and contacts eliminated for those who qualify.
Please educate yourself before considering these options.
We would like to hear from you.
Have you have Vision Correction Surgery?
What was your experience?
Please write to us and we will post your experience on EyeSearch.
If you have any comments or suggestions for the EyeSearch Newsletter please contact -
Laura Maroney, COT
[email protected]

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