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Exploring Vision Correction Options: LASIK and Refractive Surgery


Are you tired of relying on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly? Vision correction options like LASIK and other refractive surgeries offer a promising alternative for those seeking permanent solutions to their vision problems. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of vision correction surgeries, how they work, and what you can expect from each procedure.

What is Refractive Surgery?
Refractive surgery is a term used to describe surgical procedures that correct common vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. These surgeries aim to reshape the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, to improve the way light is focused onto the retina, resulting in clearer vision.

Common Types of Refractive Surgery


1. LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is the most well-known and widely performed refractive surgery. It involves creating a thin flap in the cornea using a microkeratome or femtosecond laser. The surgeon then reshapes the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser to correct the refractive error before repositioning the flap.


  • Quick recovery time

  • Minimal discomfort

  • High success rate and satisfaction



  • Not suitable for everyone (e.g., individuals with thin corneas or certain medical conditions)

  • Potential side effects include dry eyes and glare/halos

2. PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK is an alternative to LASIK that does not involve creating a corneal flap. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed, and the underlying tissue is reshaped with an excimer laser. The epithelium naturally regenerates over a few days post-surgery.



  • Suitable for patients with thin corneas

  • Lower risk of complications related to the corneal flap



  • Longer recovery time compared to LASIK

  • Initial discomfort as the epithelium heals

3. LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)
LASEK is a hybrid of LASIK and PRK. In LASEK, the outer layer of the cornea is loosened with an alcohol solution and moved aside before the underlying tissue is reshaped with an excimer laser. The epithelial layer is then repositioned over the cornea.



  • Suitable for patients with thin corneas

  • Less discomfort than PRK



  • Longer recovery time than LASIK

  • Temporary vision blurriness during healing

4. SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction)
SMILE is a minimally invasive procedure where a femtosecond laser creates a small, lens-shaped piece of tissue (lenticule) within the cornea. This lenticule is then removed through a tiny incision, reshaping the cornea and correcting the refractive error.



  • Less invasive than LASIK

  • Minimal discomfort

  • Quick recovery time



  • Not suitable for all types of refractive errors

  • Less availability compared to LASIK and PRK



Choosing the Right Procedure
The best vision correction option depends on several factors, including:

  • Your specific refractive error

  • Corneal thickness and shape

  • Overall eye health

  • Lifestyle and personal preferences

Consultation and Evaluation
A comprehensive eye exam and consultation with a qualified eye surgeon are essential to determine the most appropriate procedure for you. The surgeon will assess your vision, measure your corneas, and discuss your medical history and lifestyle to recommend the best option.



What to Expect Before, During, and After Surgery
Before Surgery:

  • Undergo a thorough eye exam

  • Discuss expectations and potential risks with your surgeon

  • Follow pre-surgery instructions, such as discontinuing contact lens use


During Surgery:

  • The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes

  • Numbing eye drops are used to minimize discomfort

  • You may experience slight pressure but no pain


After Surgery:

  • Follow post-operative care instructions carefully

  • Attend follow-up appointments to monitor healing

  • Most patients experience improved vision within a few days to weeks



Risks and Complications
While refractive surgeries are generally safe, they do carry some risks, including:

  • Dry eyes

  • Glare, halos, or starbursts around lights

  • Undercorrection or overcorrection

  • Infection or inflammation

Discuss potential risks with your surgeon and ensure you understand the likelihood and management of these complications.


Refractive surgery offers a range of options for those seeking freedom from glasses or contact lenses. Whether you choose LASIK, PRK, LASEK, or SMILE, these procedures can significantly enhance your quality of life by providing clearer vision. Consult with a qualified eye care professional to determine the best vision correction option for your needs and take the first step towards a future with improved vision.

For more information on eye health and to schedule an eye exam at Hillside Optometry in Granada Hills, call us at 818-474-2020, 

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