What is the Difference Between LASIK, ICL, and RLE?
Many patients come to us who have considered LASIK for a long time. They have finally decided to have a consultation only to learn that there are several options beyond LASIK to correct vision. Many are great LASIK candidates, but not everyone. At OMEG, we want to recommend the very best for you and we encourage people to have a consultation even when they may not be quite ready for surgery! It is helpful to know all of your options and the best procedure for you.
LASIK and PRK
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, also known as LASIK, is a popular vision correction procedure used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. If you experience these vision problems, more than likely you depend on glasses or contacts to help you see clearly. At OMEG, we recommend iLASIK for patients that want to reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
Good candidates for LASIK include patients who:
- Are at least age 18
- Have a prescription for glasses or contacts that has not changed significantly in the past year
- Have good eye health, and good general health
- Are not pregnant or nursing
- Do not have a history of chronic dry eyes
During your consultation, we ask you additional questions and a doctor will conduct a thorough exam of your vision to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK surgery.
Take our LASIK self test to see if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
What is PRK?
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a vision correction surgery. Just like with LASIK, during PRK the doctor uses a laser to change the shape of your cornea to better focus light on your retina. PRK is used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK, there is no flap created.
PRK may be a better option than LASIK for patients who:
- Have thinner corneas
- Have a hobby or occupation that has a high risk of trauma, like a boxer
- Have been diagnosed with a corneal condition
- Have extreme apprehension about creating a LASIK flap
Beyond LASIK, patients may consider the Visian Implantable Contact Lens (ICL). ICL is often considered for higher ranges of prescription. During ICL a special contact lens is implanted inside the eye and works with the eye’s natural lens to provide excellent quality of vision for a wide range of correction.
ICL surgery is a great option for a number of patients. At OMEG we find that a lot of our patients have not heard of ICL. It is always nice to know over a million ICLs have been implanted worldwide.
Visian ICL surgery has a 99% satisfaction rate, and over 1 million procedures have been performed worldwide. Patients who have the ICL surgery report:
- Sharp, clear vision
- Excellent night vision
- Quick results
ICL surgery is a great option for people with thin corneas and can correct moderate to high near sightedness and astigmatism.
Important Safety Information for Visian ICL: Before considering Visian ICL surgery you should have a complete eye examination and talk with your eye care professional about Visian ICL surgery, especially the potential benefits, risks, and complications. You should discuss the time needed for healing after surgery.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
RLE is a surgical procedure that’s identical to cataract surgery. The advancements in the intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery have created many options for vision correction. During an RLE procedure, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens.
People who have myopia, or nearsightedness, but who are not candidates for LASIK may be able to have an RLE procedure. In some cases, RLE may be the better alternative for patients with myopia and hyperopia who have high amounts of correction or an abnormal cornea.
RLE may also be an alternative to laser vision correction for patients that already wear reading glasses because of presbyopia. Presbyopia is when someone loses the ability to focus close up. For older adults who have presbyopia but don’t qualify for LASIK, RLE may be an ideal solution.
Is Refractive Lens Exchange Safe?
Yes. RLE is just as safe as cataract surgery. Possible complications are rare, and if they do occur, they can usually be treated successfully with medication or additional surgery.