LASIK ALTERNATIVES

Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff is the result of a wonderful blend of technique and technology, and it has greatly benefitted tens of thousands of Dr. Updegraff’s patients. However, it’s not the best option for everyone.

Because Dr. Updegraff, the Laser Guy, is committed to providing the best possible outcome for each of his patients, he will only recommend LASIK if he believes it’s the best option for you. A variety of preexisting conditions and variables, such as having thin corneas or certain corneal diseases, may preclude you from having LASIK. Dr. Updegraff will determine whether any of these conditions affect you during the comprehensive exam you receive at your Precision LASIK™ consultation.

There are several alternatives to LASIK that can also reduce or eliminate the need for glasses. Even if Dr. Updegraff determines that you aren’t a LASIK candidate, you may qualify for other procedures, such as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or limbal relaxing incisions (LRI).

PRK
Like LASIK, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) uses an excimer laser to reshape the eye’s cornea. With PRK, however, the first step of LASIK – creating a corneal flap – doesn’t occur. Instead, the excimer laser ablates the epithelium (the thin outer layer of the cornea) to correct vision, flattening the cornea in a nearsighted eye, and smoothing the irregular cornea in an eye with astigmatism. This allows light entering the eye to better focus onto the retina, which results in clearer vision.

LASIK and PRK both produce similar vision correction results1, but PRK typically has a longer recovery time. Because PRK ablates the cornea’s surface, a part of the healing process involves this film regrowing over the cornea, similar to skin healing over a wound. These surface cells are not affected during the LASIK procedure because they are a part of the corneal flap.

However, the main advantage of PRK is that it can be used to correct the vision of patients who aren’t LASIK candidates. For instance, having thin corneas, corneal scars, or various corneal conditions prohibits certain patients from having LASIK, but these patients can often be effectively treated with PRK instead.

LRI

Limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) are a surgical technique used to treat astigmatism.

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped – when it’s ovular, like a football, rather than round, like a basketball. This irregularity causes light entering the eye to focus at more than one point, and causes blurred vision.

LRIs help reduce astigmatism because they create incisions on opposite sides of the limbus (the border of the cornea). This results in a slight flattening, which allows the cornea to have a more rounded shape.

Dr. Updegraff often uses LRIs to reduce severe astigmatism, which then allows him to perform custom Precision LASIK™ at a later date. This is called bioptics – when two techniques are combined to achieve the best results.

1. Captain (Retired) Steven C. Schallhorn, “US Navy study: Custom PRK versus custom LASIK”. Presented at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons annual meeting; September 8, 2006; London, UK