At Brinton Vision in St. Louis, we are more than just a LASIK clinic. As a specialty refractive practice, we conduct not only LASIK but also all six of its modern variations. How does this affect you as a patient? It means you can obtain a more individualized, custom approach to laser vision correction with additional alternatives for patients.
There are a variety of alternatives to consider that may be more appropriate for your particular circumstance, even if factors like age, corneal thickness, and the degree of refractive error affect your candidacy for LASIK eye surgery. Patients often come to us having lost hope in achieving visual freedom after being told they aren’t a candidate for LASIK. Many had no idea there are other refractive surgery options they are likely a candidate for.
To meet a variety of vision needs, Brinton Vision specializes in a wide range of LASIK vision correction alternatives. There are a number of additional vision correction possibilities we’ll discuss at your consultation if LASIK isn’t right for you. These options include SMILE, Custom Lens Replacement, SBK, KAMRA Inlay, EVO ICL, and PRK.
We firmly believe that living without glasses or contacts makes it simpler to experience each moment as it happens. We want everyone to have that kind of opportunity. To learn more about what type of vision correction surgery is best for your unique needs, call Brinton Vision today to schedule a consultation.
Why is there a need for LASIK alternatives?
Although LASIK can be beneficial in eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses, not everyone is a candidate. Anyone who has experienced waking up to a blurry world on a regular basis is aware of LASIK’s effectiveness. Laser in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is a form of laser eye surgery that uses lasers to cure visual issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism brought on by refractive errors (meaning your eye does not bend light properly).
Even though LASIK can successfully replace the need for glasses or contact lenses, not everyone is a candidate. For a small percentage of patients, LASIK may not be the best option for vision correction. You might not be qualified for LASIK if you experiencing any of the following:
- If you have certain eye conditions or diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, cataracts, or other autoimmune diseases
- If your vision is not stable
- If you are younger than 18 years old
- If you have dry eye syndrome or other unresolved vision problems
- If you have thin or flat corneas
Even though it may be disappointing at first to be told you are not a LASIK candidate, there are a variety of alternatives to LASIK surgery available to correct vision.
Custom lens replacement vs LASIK
Refractive lens exchange surgery, also known as custom lens replacement, is a popular alternative to glasses and contact lenses for patients over 50. Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are among the vision issues that can be treated with refractive lens exchange (RLE), which also has the added benefit of addressing presbyopia (age-related inability to see up close).
A surgeon performs RLE to correct visual problems by removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). It is almost the exact same procedure used for cataract surgery. Patients who receive the new intraocular lens implant will have stable vision and won’t be at future risk of developing cataracts.
Both LASIK and RLE are dependable procedures for correcting eyesight, with high rates of success, high levels of patient satisfaction, and rapid recovery times. Although both procedures are beneficial for patients, it’s crucial to realize that the procedures use different methods to correct refractive errors in different parts of the human eye.
The natural lens of the patient is removed during a custom lens replacement, and a clear artificial lens is then implanted. Removing the dysfunctional lens at the back of the eye corrects eyesight.
With the use of a laser, a surgeon can reshape a patient’s cornea during LASIK surgery. Removing microscopic layers of corneal tissue, can smooth out abnormalities and improve eyesight.
When comparing refractive lens exchange (RLE) vs. LASIK for patients over 50, RLE comes out on top, even though LASIK is still a safe and effective procedure for correcting eyesight.
Presbyopia, a condition where the lens hardens with age and makes it challenging to focus on objects up close, causes our eyesight to worsen as we age. This explains why many people struggle to read small text and require reading glasses as they age.
Presbyopia cannot be treated with LASIK since it alters the surface of the eye rather than the lens. Prior to the age of 50, patients who get LASIK are just as prone to this age-related eye problem as people who have never needed vision correction.
The most crucial factor to consider when comparing custom lens replacement and LASIK is age. Custom lens replacement is a great alternative to LASIK for patients over 50, especially those who are concerned about age-related lens changes such as presbyopia and cataracts. Most RLE patients are able to see without glasses for both close-up and distance vision.
SMILE vs LASIK
SMILE, which stands for small incision lenticule extraction, is a newer form of laser-based refractive eye surgery based on LASIK. The Food and Drug Administration approved the surgery and related equipment for the United States market in 2016, but the treatment has been utilized in other countries for more than ten years. SMILE cures myopia, or nearsightedness, and astigmatism. Because it doesn’t involve making a flap in the cornea to reshape it, SMILE is considered less invasive than LASIK.
The SMILE procedure is similar to LASIK and the healing time is about the same. There is less incidence of dry eye after a SMILE procedure when compared to LASIK. Despite the extremely low risk of flap issues in LASIK, they are entirely avoided in SMILE because there is no flap. For those patients ages 18-59 with myopia who are poor candidates for LASIK, SMILE is a good alternative.
The following are some key distinctions between SMILE and LASIK:
- All refractive errors are treated with LASIK, whereas SMILE only treats myopia with or without astigmatism
- By creating a flap in the cornea during LASIK, the excimer laser may access the inside of your eye. SMILE reshapes the top of the cornea in order to flatten it.
- For those with thin corneas, LASIK is not a good option. Even those with thin corneas who are nearsighted can still benefit from SMILE.
- There was no difference in recovery rates at one month following the procedure between LASIK and SMILE. However, LASIK has a greater recovery from side effects at a seven-day follow-up point.
- Long-term patient satisfaction is good for both surgeries. In the end, most patients who receive either operation are content with the outcomes.
- Higher-order aberrations (HOAs) that affect night vision can be treated with LASIK and other refractive procedures like photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), but not with SMILE.
PRK vs LASIK
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), which is used to reshape the cornea of your eye, is similar to LASIK. The epithelium, or top layer of the cornea, is removed during PRK by your eye surgeon. Both LASIK and PRK use the exact same laser. The part of the cornea the laser is affecting is the difference between the two procedures. To change the curvature, lasers are utilized to reshape the layer under the epithelium. For those ages 18 to 59 with thin corneas, PRK is an excellent LASIK alternative. The primary distinction between the two treatments is the length of recovery time: LASIK recovery only lasts a few days compared to about a month for PRK surgery.
PRK also does not require a corneal flap to be cut like in a LASIK procedure. But not everyone qualifies for PRK, much like LASIK.
You might not be qualified for PRK if:
- Your eyelids are affected by chronic allergies
- You suffer from a serious eye condition
- You have an autoimmune disorder that limits your capacity for healing
EVO ICL vs LASIK
The Implantable Collamer Lens, or EVO ICL for short, is a microscopic lens used to treat common vision issues. EVO ICL doesn’t remove any corneal tissue, unlike LASIK, PRK, and other treatments, making it the best choice for those with thin corneas. It almost makes sense to compare it to a permanent implantable contact lens. It may be upgraded, is removable, and offers better vision both day and night. The EVO ICL process takes 20 to 30 minutes and is essentially painless.
The good news is that both LASIK and EVO Visian ICL recovery times are relatively short. The majority of patients return to their normal routines within a few days of the treatment, although you’ll need to take a week off from vigorous exercise and several weeks off from swimming.
The best candidates for EVO ICL are those who have been on a stable eyeglass prescription for at least a year and are between the ages of 18 and 59. You must be at least 18 years old, have a stable prescription for at least a year, be in generally good health, and have no prior history of eye disease in order to undergo LASIK.
SBK vs LASIK
A femtosecond laser, a cool-beam laser that uses highly modern computer technology to quickly and painlessly create the corneal flap, is used in SBK procedures.
The key distinction between LASIK and SBK is that the flap formed during SBK is much thinner and smaller in diameter than the flap created during LASIK. This preserves corneal structural integrity, speeds up recovery, and reduces the likelihood of issues in the future.
The newest, most sophisticated, and safest method in laser vision correction is SBK. Many refractive surgeons see it as the best of both worlds since it combines the benefits of LASIK with the safety of PRK.
Furthermore, many individuals who are ineligible for LASIK because of their thin corneal tissue may still be eligible for SBK.
SBK decreases the possibility of the flap dislodging or getting infected, as occasionally happens with LASIK because the depth of the flap produced in the cornea is significantly more shallow.
As a result, SBK is superior to LASIK in a variety of ways, including:
- It has fewer side effects than LASIK, including fewer instances of dry eye.
- Compared to LASIK, SBK results in less light sensitivity in the eyes.
- Serious complications are less likely to occur with SBK.
KAMRA Inlay vs LASIK
A ring is implanted in the cornea of the eye as part of the KAMRA inlay eye treatment. The treatment aims to improve your ability to focus on close-up objects. Patients with presbyopia can benefit from KAMRA inlays since they are lighter, thinner, and smaller than contact lenses.
Without affecting long-distance vision, the operation is successful in restoring near vision. Patients can lessen their reliance on a corrective lens as a result.
Like a camera, KAMRA inlays function similarly. By minimizing and managing the amount of light entering the eye, you can improve your visual perception of nearby objects.
Only patients with exceptional long-distance vision are eligible for KAMRA inlays. The KAMRA process involves creating a tiny pocket inside the cornea with a layer, then inserting the inlay into the newly created space.
To qualify for KAMRA inlay, you must:
- Have far-sightedness that is above average
- Only require distance correction or reading glasses
- Be between the ages of 40 and 59.
- Not have a significant history of dry eye disease (although this can be treated before the procedure)
- Possess a 6 mm maximum pupil size.
- Not required to read small print frequently or work in a profession requiring precision
- Not taking eye medications for additional eyesight problems
- Not suffer from glaucoma, keratoconus, uncontrolled diabetes, immune system diseases, or cataracts
Brinton Vision, your custom vision correction experts
At Brinton Vision, we know there is not a one size fits all approach to vision correction surgery. We will never recommend a vision correction procedure that isn’t right for your unique needs. That is why we offer the full portfolio of vision correction alternatives so that we are able to help more people achieve successful outcomes. Vision correction surgeries are the only thing we do at Brinton Vision, and we do it well.
The Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis is a 90-minute experience that gives you an in-depth, 3D look at your eye health and functionality and will leave you with a detailed understanding of your vision and whether you are a candidate for LASIK or six other advanced vision correction procedures. Call Brinton Vision today or visit our website to schedule your consultation. We look forward to hearing from you soon.