Lasik has few alternatives. Before we get into those, it's important to understand what laser eye  surgery, or as commonly called LASIK, is.

What is LASIK?

LASIK is a refractive eye surgery, where surgeons will use a laser to create a flap in your cornea. The laser then reshapes the inner structures of your cornea so that you are no longer dependent on your glasses or contacts to see clearly.

What are the alternatives to lasik?

Photorefractive Keratometry Surgery (PRK)

PRK is also a refractive eye surgery that is an alternative to LASIK. The procedure uses the same laser as lasik, but does not form a flap in the cornea. During PRK surgery, the top portion of the cornea is removed and then the cornea is reshaped by lasers to allow clear vision. LASIK patients recover a little faster than PRK patients because the flap is placed again on top of the cornea after reshaping the cornea in LASIK, allowing the cornea to heal faster.

Why do some eye doctors recommend PRK? Some patients may not be a candidate for LASIK due to the thickness of their cornea. In that case PRK may be recommended as it is suitable even for those patients with a thinner cornea. PRK may also be recommended for patients that are at higher risk for trauma to the eye, such as boxers, military, or people that work with little kids.

Photorefractive Keratometry Surgery vs LASIK

If a person's cornea is too thin for lasik, they may want to consider PRK surgery instead. PRK is still a viable option for them because a flap is not created which allows the surgeon to work with more corneal tissue. Anyone who has an active lifestyle, or is in the military or is athletic or has a lifestyle that can cause trauma is at risk because the flap created in lasik can be dislodged. Therefore, PRK surgery would be a safer alternative.

SMILE surgery

People with higher degrees of short-sightedness can benefit from SMILE laser eye surgery, an innovative form of keyhole laser eye surgery. Small Incision Lenticule Extraction is a bladeless procedure that is minimally invasive. People with or without astigmatism can benefit from SMILE eye surgery, which is an alternative to more commonly known LASIK procedures.

Orthokeratology lenses (OrthoK)

Orthokeratology contact lenses are another non-surgical alternative to LASIK. Orthokeratology contact lenses are hard contact lenses that you can sleep with at night. They apply gentle pressure to the front surface of your cornea so that your cornea is reshaped, allowing you to see clearly throughout the day when you wake up, without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

What are the benefits of Orthokeratology compared to LASIK?

OrthoK lenses are a great alternative for people who are hesitant to have surgery done on their eyes or for kids. Because OrthoK is not surgery, it is entirely reversible, so it is a really great option for someone who is hesitant but still likes the idea of being glasses and contact lens free during the day.

Another benefit of Orthokeratology over eye surgery is that eye surgery such as LASIK, PRK, and SMILE has a small but significant percentage of patients who have post-operative complications. With OrthoK you get the benefits of being glasses and contact lens free, without the risks of eye surgery.

What are some of the complications that are associated with LASIK, PRK, and SMILE?

  • Undercorrection is the most common form of complication from laser eye surgery. In most cases of under correction, the patient would still require glasses or contact lenses following the surgery.
  • It is estimated that over 60% of people who undergo LASIK experience dry eye symptoms. While treatable, dry eye can lead to many unpleasant symptoms such as dryness, watery eyes, painful eyes, feeling of gritty sensation in the eyes, and redness. At our office we see a lot of dry eye patients that come to us after experiencing symptoms following laser eye surgery.
  • Visual changes such as glare sensitivity, halos around lights, haze, and decreased contrast sensitivity impact approximately 20% of patients who undergo LASIK surgery. This complication is generally temporary, for most patients lasting between 3-6 months after surgery.

Due to the high incidence of complications from eye surgery a lot of patients prefer to choose Orthokeratology.

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