Refractive surgery aims to eliminate refractive defects such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. At present there are numerous techniques to solve these problems. All refractive surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia.
Each type of refractive correction requires a detailed study to select the most appropriate technique for each patient. Some of the most used techniques in refractive surgery are:
PRK - PHOTOREFRACTIVE KERATECTOMY: When the refractive surgery is done on the surface it is called PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). This is an corneal ablation by excimer laser that does not require cutting the cornea. This technique is recommended in patients with very active jobs or hobbies that can cause eye injuries.
LASIK (WITH OR WITHOUT FEMTOSECOND LASER): LASIK refractive surgery is done on a deeper layer of the cornea. This technique involves lifting a surface layer to make the cut with the laser and, when completed, replace this layer in place. The lasik procedure can be performed with a microkeratome, a surgical instrument which incorporates a knife on its head, or femtosecond laser, which allows a much cleaner and precise cut.
RELEX SMILE: Refractive surgery can also be performed with Relex SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction), a technique to correct a refractive defects with an only 2 mm micro-incision and using only a laser. This allows a faster recovery.
It is the most advanced technique. The cornea is not damaged and allows the addition to daily and sporting activities immediately.
ARCUATE KERATOTOMY: The arcuate keratotomy is a technique that is used to treat serious cases of astigmatism. It consists of making incisions in the cornea that produce a change in its curvature. Incisions are usually made with laser.
In this case, recovery is somewhat slower, since the eye must heal at several points.
PHAKIC LENSES (ICL): Phakic Lenses (ICL) are another option to treat refractive problems. They are very thin and pliable lenses that are implanted inside the eye. The ICL (implantable contact lens) can be spherical lenses to correct myopia or hyperopia, or rings, if the defect is combined with astigmatism. It is a reversible surgery so if the patient wish so, he could return to his original state.
BEFORE THE PROCEDURE
Patients must attend a previous medical visit in which he will undergo specific tests. The surgeon will tell them if they must use some eye drops in the days before the intervention.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE:
Depending on the technique used, deadlines and postoperative conditions may vary, but in most cases patients can recover their normal activities past 3 or 4 days.