Evolution of Refractive Surgeries Focus on Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis
Basler, Lindsay M.
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Refractive surgeries have been available for many years, but the newer techniques are now gaining even greater popularity in the United States. Refractive surgeries include; radial keratotomy (RK), laser thermokeratoplasty, clear lens implant, laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), and photorefractive keratotomy (PRK). Also the non-surgical procedures like orthokeratology with clear lens. Knowledge of the importance of the visual system is necessary in order to understand the changes that are made during refractive surgery. LASIK surgery has reinvented itself more than once in the past decade. The Intralase (laser technique used instead of blade) was created so a blade is not used during surgery resulting in the general opinion by ophthalmologists and optometrists that LASIK is safer. Wavefront applications have allowed custom LASIK to be possible thus giving patients improved optical results. LASIK and PRK are the two surgeries most in demand in the United States, because the technologies discovered for these procedures allow for improved patient care. Examining LASIK and PRK head-to-head allows for a comparison that can help patients to choose the surgery that best suits their needs. Convenience is the leading reason that refractive surgery is in the forefront of cosmetic surgery. The excimer laser ablates either epithelium or anterior stroma, but all enhancements to the optical system are made through the reshaping of the cornea. The newer techniques are trying to reshape the cornea without using a laser; these procedures are currently in development. Overall, refractive surgeries are changing the way people see today which is contributing to the continuing rise in elective refractive surgeries.