5 LASIK Alternatives and Their Risks

5 LASIK Alternatives and Their Risks

LASIK surgery, like any other type of surgery comes with a bed of risks ranging from overcorrection to vision loss to glares and double vision. A surgery shouldn’t cause the problems you set out to fix.

Along with LASIK eye surgery, five new alternatives have broken out onto the eye surgery scene. Those who don’t make the cut for LASIK surgery are filled with hope and promises that these new alternatives are the waves of the future. And, while these alternatives can have a huge impact on quality of life by improving and restoring vision, there are always risks that aren’t always mentioned.

Before making the snap decision to have one of these surgical procedures, we want you to know all the info so you can weigh the pros and cons.

1. iDesign Advanced WaveScan Studio System

iDesign Advanced WaveScan Studio System is a newly FDA approved device born from the idea of Wavefront LASIK surgery. This type of surgery provides a customized surgery specific to your eye. With this new wave scanning technology, it promises an accurate scan of the eye for an even more personalized LASIK treatment.

One positive is that because of its customizing features, Wavefront LASIK is more precise than other types of LASIK surgery. The positives end there. Because this is still a LASIK type surgery, the risks are generally the same:

  • Dry eyes
  • Halos or glare
  • Flap problems
  • Vision returning to pre-surgery vision

That last one’s got to hurt especially if you’re spending upwards of $2,000 per eye. According to an FDA study, 45 percent of those who participated in the study (312 people) experienced visual symptoms that they had not experienced before undergoing the surgery.

2. Femtosecond Laser Technology

5 LASIK Alternatives and Their RisksThis new technology is used for two things: to create thin LASIK flaps and to remove eye tissue. This procedure is done with laser pulses instead of a blade. This being a new technology is one of its greatest risks. As with any new technology, there’s a learning curve for everyone involved, even the doctors.

In a study of 100 participants, 34 percent were found to have complications of conjunctival redness or hemorrhages, 20 percent experienced capsule tags and bridges, and 32 percent experienced miosis. Among these, some other complications were anterior tearing, suction breaks and damage due to cuts in the endothelial layer.

3. Visian Implantable Collamer Lens Surgery

Visian ICL surgery includes placing a semi-permanent contact lens into the eye. What makes it semi-permanent is that it can be kept in the eye forever or be removed at any time.

One of the most common complications of visian ICL surgery is overcorrection and undercorrection. Doctors, of course, try as hard as they can to take the most precise measurements, but there is always room for error. A slight miscalculation may result in having the wrong correction done. The only way to fix these poor corrections is through additional LASIK surgery.

Another common complication is that of halos and glare around light. This risk is high whenever operating on a lens. It can range from slight to severe. This complication also worsens night vision, especially when driving. Oncoming headlights can cause heavy amounts of glare and flash blindness.

4. KAMRA Inlay

The KAMRA inlay procedure is geared towards older people who suffer from presbyopia and who need reading glasses. During the procedure, a small inlay with a pinhole is inserted into the cornea. This then allows focused light to enter the eye more easily. The KAMRA inlay is performed on one eye only, and then the brain works with both eyes for clearer vision.

Though the KAMRA inlay surgery was approved by the FDA in 2015, in 2014 the FDA panel was split down the middle. Half were for approving the surgery, and half believed that the risks involved outweighed the benefits.

This corneal inlay can cause blurred vision, glares, color disturbances, dryness, burning, and pain. Other more serious complications may include infections, inflammation of the cornea and eye swelling.

Some good news is that the KAMRA inlay can be removed, but with this comes even more complications. Once removed, a person’s vision will likely go back to what it was before the inlay was inserted. However, this does not guarantee your eyes will be spared of any damage from the KAMRA inlay removal.

5. Epi-LASIK

Epi-LASIK eye surgery is a supposedly improved type of LASIK surgery that promises to reduce the risks that are normally involved with regular LASIK. Epi-LASIK relies on techniques such as cutting with blunt, plastic blades, as well as using this blade to loosen the epithelium sheet instead of using alcohol as done in LASEK surgery.

Though this type of laser eye surgery promises to be rid of typical LASIK and LASEK eye surgery risks, it has a whole new set of complications associated with it. The most common one is long recovery times compared to LASIK. Patients can be expected to experience blurred and scratchy vision for four to five days after surgery.

Professionals recommend taking a week off from work after having Epi-LASIK surgery. The reason for this is that though patients can legally drive after the surgery, they shouldn’t. Vision acuity can fluctuate during the recovery process making their vision unpredictable. With Epi-LASIK surgery, it can take up to six months to see the full results of the surgery.

Some additional concerns are dry eyes, epithelium erosion, halos and glares, corneal flap complications and incorrect corrections.

Do Your Research First

These five new advances in laser eye surgery may seem like the ways of the future, but the truth is the complications and risks involved have yet to be ironed out. Eye surgery should be a last resort. No amount of benefits are worth risking your overall eye health.

The complications involved in these LASIK alternatives can be anywhere from mild to severe. Because our eyes are all unique, one person’s eyes may not respond to surgery in the same way as another’s. This makes predicting the aftermath of the procedures difficult.

Before making any decisions regarding something as serious as eye surgery, be sure to weigh all your options including natural alternatives like eye vitamins. This way you can be well-informed and in control of your own eye health.

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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