LASIK, PRK and ICL (Refractive Surgery)
Refractive surgeries are surgeries on the eye ultimately for correcting distance vision with some exceptions. The most popular refractive surgery is LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), in this surgery there is very little discomfort and usually by that same day you see clearly. The unique part of this surgery is that a corneal flap is created by a laser or with an instrument and flipped out of the way. Then a special laser reshapes the cornea so that the patient sees 20/20. The flap is placed back onto the cornea and special care of not rubbing your eye for the next few weeks. A complication can be when the flap moves out of place. Which can be painful and cause permanent vision changes. Although the large majority of patients do not experience this complication.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is another refractive surgery that instead of having a flap made has the outer top layer of the cornea removed and then a laser is used to reshape the cornea. This surgery may have some discomfort, with the outer layer removed this causes for corneal nerves to be exposed. To help with the discomfort, a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye for a 1week or so allowing the top layer of the cornea to regenerate.
Lastly ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens or Intraocular Contact Lens) is a new refractive surgery. In this surgery the cornea is kept intact. A small incision on the side of the cornea and a flexible lens is placed inside the eye behind the iris and in front of the natural lens. Then a small hole is made on the iris typically at the top of the eye where the lid covers to allow a balance in eye pressure. This surgery is reversible and ideal for patients who have high prescriptions disqualifying them for LASIK or PRK.