6 Types of Laser Vision Correction Procedures

Laser vision correction, or corrective eye surgery, refers to any surgical procedure used to fix or improve vision problems. There are different procedures, and most involve reshaping the cornea, which is the clear front part of the eye. Other surgeries include replacing the eye’s natural lens, which is used to correct extreme farsightedness or nearsightedness.

Photoreactive Keratectomy (PRK)

Photoreactive keratectomy treats mild farsightedness or nearsightedness and astigmatism. While LASIK creates a thin flap in the cornea, PRK removes the cornea's outer layer, which grows back over time. The top layer of the cornea can be removed with a blade, laser, or brush. The recovery is longer with PRK, requiring you to wear protective contact lenses over the reshaped cornea for three to five days.


LASIK is the most popular form of corrective eye surgery and is ideal for patients suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. The LASIK procedure creates a thin flap in the cornea's outer layer, and a laser is used to reshape the cornea and correct your vision. Wavefront technology is ideal as it uses computer imaging to map your cornea so it can be used as a guide for the procedure.


Laser epithelial keratomileusis is a combination of PRK and Lasik. A flap is created using an alcohol solution, a laser is used to reshape the cornea, and the flap is closed. To help with flap recovery, a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye to keep the flap in place as it heals. This procedure might be recommended if you have a naturally thin cornea, as it decreases the chances of removing too much cornea.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

RLE is the same as cataract surgery and is used to correct extreme farsightedness and nearsightedness, ideal for patients who are not candidates for LASIK. RLE is also known as PRELEX, clear lens exchange (CLE), clear lens extraction (CLE), and refractive lens replacement (RLR). What happens is that the doctor makes an incision at the edge of your cornea and removes your natural lens, replacing it with a plastic lens implant. Recovery is longer with RLE as it requires more healing, and only one eye can be treated at a time.


Intacs corneal inserts or implants are used primarily for the treatment of keratoconus. Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes the cornea to become irregular in shape, creating vision problems. With Intacs treatment, two intracorneal ring segments are placed at the edge of the cornea through an incision. The rings function to flatten the cornea and reshape it to focus light rays on the retina.

Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants are an option for those who are too nearsighted for PRK or LASIK. Similar to RLE, the doctor makes an incision at the edge of the cornea, but instead of removing the natural lens, it stays in place. The doctor inserts the implant lens in front of the eye’s natural lens.

Overall, LASIK is the most common procedure and is suitable for most healthy adults. LASIK also requires the least recovery time and is relatively quick and painless. Equipment and technology are essential, with the best clinics utilizing an iLASIK wavefront-guided blade-free system for the procedure. A consultation with an experienced LASIK surgeon can verify your eligibility for the procedure and is just a click away.


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