Refractive Surgery

Refractive surgery is the collective term for a variety of surgical procedures designed to eliminate or reduce the need for glasses and contact lenses.

These include LASIK, PRK, Phakic Intraocular lenses such as Verisyse TM & Visian ICL,TM and Refractive lens exchange.

LASIK - The Goltschman Sturm Eye Center Inc.


LASIK, or Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis, is used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism.  During LASIK a thin flap of corneal tissue is created before the laser is used to reshape the underlying tissue.  The flap is then returned to position and heals quickly without stitches.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy, is also known as Surface Ablation. It is used as an alternative laser treatment to standard LASIK, most commonly for patients with thinner corneas or those with mild corneal abnormalities or significant dry eye. PRK can sometimes be a better option for patients with very active lifestyles because PRK does not involve creating a flap in the cornea.  In very active patients there is a risk of accidentally dislodging the flap and developing visual problems.

During PRK the surface layer of corneal tissue called the epithelium is removed and laser treatment is applied directly to the surface of the cornea.  A bandage contact lens is placed on the corneal surface for 5-7 days to assist with the healing process.

Phakic Intraocular Lenses

Phakic intraocular lenses such as the Verisyse TM & Visian ICLTM  are most often used for patients who have severe levels of myopia or nearsightedness which makes them a poor candidate for LASIK or PRK.  A phakic intraocular lens is like an “implantable contact lens.”  The lens is surgically implanted into the anterior section of the eye in front of the natural lens of the eye. The word “phakic” means the natural crystalline lens is left in the eye.  It is not removed and replaced as in cataract surgery. (link to page)

Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange is another surgical corrective procedure which is very similar to cataract surgery. It is often reserved for patients  that have become intolerant to contact lens wear but have very high refractive errors that are too extreme for LASIK or PRK. Often these patients have also developed presbyopia, the age-related loss of near vision.

In refractive lens exchange, the natural lens of the eye is still clear, and has not developed a clouding known as a cataract.  During the procedure, the clear natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens or intraocular lens (IOL) as in cataract surgery.  There are a variety of intraocular lens styles that can be implanted to achieve the patient’s visual needs, including those that correct astigmatism, presbyopia, or both.