It’s frustrating when you first notice something isn’t quite right with your eyesight. Whether you experience a floater, blurred vision, or any other eye-related issues, it’s concerning.
Maintaining good health is important, and that includes eye health. However, many eye problems (like cataracts) are related to age. Depending on how long you’ve been dealing with the symptoms, surgery might be your only option. If you’re like most people, the first type of surgery you think of is LASIK, but not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure.
If you’ve been looking for a way to restore your vision and Lasik isn’t right for you, here are some alternative options to check out:
1. Clear Lens Exchange (CLE)
Clear Lens Exchange is also called refractive lens exchange (RLE), and involves replacing the lens with an artificial intraocular lens.
CLE is different than LASIK, but the outcome is the same. This procedure improves eyesight and minimizes the need for glasses or contacts. CLE takes about 30 minutes, and is performed as an outpatient procedure. Recovery time is about a week.
You can choose a new lens that will give you better vision of far-away objects or better sight at all distances.
If you’re 40 or older and have severe presbyopia, you’re a good candidate for CLE. If you have presbyopia, LASIK surgery won’t fix the refractive error causing your problems, so CLE is the ideal choice for surgical correction.
CLE is also a good choice if you have irregular corneas or severe hyperopia (farsightedness). It isn’t recommended for people with myopia (nearsightedness) due to the risk of retinal detachment during the procedure.
2. Photorefractive Keratectomy (PKR)
This type of eye surgery is a good option for people with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
PKR was created prior to LASIK, and is still routinely performed. Although PKR will benefit certain patients more than LASIK, this procedure takes longer to recover from.
During this procedure, the cornea is reshaped using an excimer laser. The result is that light can enter the eye and properly focus on the retina to create clear vision.
3. Implantable contact lenses
You’ve probably never heard of implantable contact lenses, but they’re a reality. They’re also referred to as “Phakic Intraocular Lenses,” and are made from synthetic collagen making them biocompatible.
The procedure implants these contact lenses on top of the patient’s natural lens, and is completed in two phases. The patient is administered topical anesthesia to minimize discomfort and some people opt for a sedative to reduce anxiety.
The recovery time for this procedure is quick. Patients can return to work the next day after each phase.
This procedure is better suited for people over the age of 21 with fairly stable vision. It’s not a good solution for people with cataracts.
4. Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)
Condictive Keratoplasty is a noninvasive procedure designed to correct farsightedness in people over the age of 40. A tiny probe is used to release controlled amounts of radio frequency energy rather than a laser. The RF energy applies heat to the cornea, causing it to shrink and tighten. This increases the curvature of the cornea, which improves its optical power.
5. Accepting your eyesight as it is
This option isn’t for everyone, but if your eyesight is poor and you don’t want to have it surgically corrected, your only remaining option is to accept your vision as it stands. As long as you’re able to see road signs while driving, poor vision probably won’t impact your life too harshly.
If your vision isn’t deteriorating rapidly, you don’t necessarily need surgery. It’s best to avoid wearing glasses all the time since that will only serve to weaken your eyesight. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting glasses, contact lenses, or simply using reading glasses when you need them.
Before deciding on the procedure that you want, consult your ophthalmologist to find out what your options are. You might find out you’re a good candidate for a non-invasive and less expensive procedure.