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RK - Radial Keratotomy HK - Hexagonal Keratotomy
AK - Astigmatic Keratotomy Photobalation Procedures
SEBS - Scleral Expansion Bands
LTK - Laser Thermal Keratoplasty

LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  The surgeon cuts a flap in the stroma, then uses an excimer laser to remove material under the flap.  LASIK usually takes less than one minute per eye. 

To learn more about LASIK eye surgery, click here.

  • Epi-Lasik is like LASIK in that the flap is cut only in the epithelium, but the surgeon uses neither a blade nor alcohol.  Instead, the surgeon uses an epikeratome, which is a separator that creates an epithelial sheet.  Because no alcohol is involved, patients are likely to feel less pain than in alcohol procedures and will generally heal faster.
  • Bladeless or "All Laser" LASIK is like LASIK, except that an additional laser instead of a bladed instrument (mikrokeratome) is used to create the flap in front of the eye.  As with regular LASIK, the flap is lifted and laser energy is used to reshape the eye for vision correction.
  • Custom LASIK or Wavefront LASIK:  Individualized Vision Correction by Keith Crowes; reviewed by Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler and Dr.  Vance Thompson.  Custom LASIK surgery, also known as wavefront LASIK or wavefront-guided LASIK, uses 3-dimensional measurements of how your eye processes images to guide the laser in re-shaping the front part of the eye (cornea).  With a wavefront measurement system, some extremely precise, individualized vision correction outcomes may be achieved that would be impossible with traditional LASIK surgery, contact lenses, or eyeglasses...  Depending on the custom laser system used and other factors such as appropriate thickness of your cornea, a patient might be considered a candidate if he/she has mild to moderately high degrees of common defects such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis) is similar to LASIK, except the surgeon creates a flap in the epithelium without a blade and then performs the laser ablation.  This means that any infection would be more readily treatable.  LASEK is still in the investigational stages. top

ReSTOR Lens is the brand name for the Acrysof ReStor apodized multifocal intraocular lens.  The ReStor lens is used with cataract surgery and Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE).  The potential advantage of any multifocal lens is the ability to see clearly objects both near and distant. 

ReSTOR attempts too resolve presbyopia,  click here.

Photoablation Procedures - In photoablation, a surgeon uses ultraviolet radiation to remove tissue.  Photoablation is the second step in LASIK and LASEK. top
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is an eye surgery that treats nearsightedness, mild to moderate farsightedness, and astigmatism.  The surgeon uses an excimer laser to remove tissue from the surface of the cornea.  This removal (or ablation) results in a new shape, thus reducing the vision problem.  PRK usually takes less than one minute per eye.  top

RK (Radial Keratotomy) treats mild to moderate nearsightedness.  The surgeon makes incisions in a radial (spoke-like) pattern in your cornea, which causes it to flatten, thus reducing nearsightedness.  The procedure usually takes less than half an hour.

Ten years ago, RK was performed fairly often.  Today, surgeons prefer newer myopia correction procedures, such as LASIK and corneal ring insertion.

AK (Astigmatic Keratotomy) treats astigmatism.  The surgeon cuts the cornea in a manner that allows it to become more rounded when it heals.  Many people undergo AK in addition to other corrective eye surgery. top
HK (Hexagonal Keratotomy) used to be performed to treat farsightedness.  Surgeons stopped using it because of the high incidence of complications. top
Limbal and Scleral Incision Procedures - The outer layer of the eye can be divided into three areas: the cornea, the limbus, and the sclera.  The cornea is the clear part that covers the iris and pupil. top
LTK (Laser Thermal Keratoplasty) is a new procedure that was FDA-approved in June 2000 to treat mild farsightedness (hyperopia) in people over 40.  The surgeon uses a holmium laser as the heat source.  The procedure takes only a few seconds.  In some people, the amount of correction is reduced over time, so they would require pretreatment to maintain their level of vision correction. top
RFK (Radio Frequency Keratoplasty) is another such procedure , but it is still in investigational stages.  Radio waves are the heat source, and the procedure takes about 15 minutes. top
Epikeratophakia treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  The surgeon attaches human donor tissue to the cornea.  Surgeons occasionally performs Epikeratophakia to treat keratoconus, but they usually do not use it in other circumstances. top
SEBS (Scleral Expansion Bands) are new implantation devices to treat presbyopia.  The surgeon places four PMMA segments just below the surface of the sclera.  The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is still in investigational stages. top
CK (Conductive Keratoplasty) uses mild heat from radio waves to shrink collagen in the periphery of the cornea.  This steepens the cornea overall to correct farsightedness or presbyopia.  This procedure takes about five minutes.  Near vision CK is a monovision technique that induces myopia in the patient's non-dominant eye to help people with presbyopia see items both near and distant.  Presbyopia is when you need to use reading glasses or bifocals.  CK was first FDA approved as a treatment for hyperopia; however, hyperopia treatment with CK has been all but abandoned.  Most doctors prefer the more permanent conventional or custom wavefront LASIK, Intralasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, P-IOL, or RLE to resolve hyperopia. top
IOLs (intraocular lenses) have been around for several decades and are normally implanted during cataract surgery.  They replace the eye's natural lens, which have become cloudy from cataract and must be removed by the surgeon.  IOLs used to be available only as a fixed focal lens to provide distance vision, with cataract patients requiring eyeglasses to help them with intermediate and close-up vision after the surgery.  But new IOLs have been introduced that allow the lens to move in the eye or to see at near, intermediate and distance ranges without reading glasses.  The technology may not be limited to cataract patients alone, as some surgeons are exploring the use of accommodative IOLs for people who need correction for their myopia, hyperopia, and/or presbyopia.  Currently, no lenses are specifically FDA approved for this type of non-cataract procedure.  But some eye surgeons will exchange a patient's healthy natural lens for an artificial lens or IOL as a way of providing correction in certain circumstances. top
ICL/P-IOLs (Implantable contact lenses or phakic intraocular lenses) are new implantation devices that can treat severe nearsightedness and farsightedness.  During a 6 to 20 minute procedure (depending on the type of lens used), the surgeon attaches the lens to the iris or places it behind the iris and in front of the eye's natural lens.  Unlike regular contact lenses, you cannot feel the lenses and they do not require any maintenance.  The eye surgery is reversible should complications occur. top
Intacs are plastic inserts that at one time were marketed to treat mild nearsightedness and mild astigmatism, but now are used primarily to correct corneal bulging (keratoconus).  The surgeon places the segments in the cornea to flatten it.  The procedure takes about 15 minutes.  The ring segments, though designed to be permanent, can be removed if necessary.  Intacs received FDA approval in July 2004. top
RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) is essentially cataract surgery, but exclusively for refractive purposes.  RLE is sometimes called Clear Lens Exchange (CLE), Clear Lens Extraction (CLE), and Refractive Lens Replacement (RLR).  In RLE, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a silicone or plastic intraocular lens (IOL).  The replacement IOL is of a power to correct most, if not all, of the patient's hyperopia or myopia.  RLE alone is not very successful at correcting astigmatism.  To correct astigmatism, conventional or custom wavefront LASIK, Intralasik, PRK, LASEK, CK, or Epi-Lasik may be required in addition to RLE. top
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