Chicago / Des Plaines Refractive Eye Surgery Specialists
The Midwest Center for Sight
The History of Refractive Surgery
Since the late 1970s, ophthalmologists have routinely treated patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism with a number of surgical procedures known as "refractive surgery." Refractive surgery became popular in the early 1980s with several incisional procedures with pioneering ophthalmologists and modern technology. At the Midwest Center for Sight, we offer several state-of-the-art laser eye surgery procedures as well as a range of sophisticated intraocular treatments.
Radial Keratotomy (RK)
Radial Keratotomy (RK) was the most popular. Using microscopic, spoke-like incisions in a 'radial' pattern around the center of the cornea (the outer window of the eye) proved effective in reducing low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness.
Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK)
Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) which also uses incisions was used to correct mild to moderate amounts of astigmatism and is still considered a viable procedure for treating astigmatism today.
Although millions of people enjoyed the benefits of RK, its results were somewhat unpredictable from patient to patient and from surgeon to surgeon. In the late 1980s, ophthalmologists began using the Excimer laser to reshape the cornea. The Excimer laser emits a cool, ultraviolet light that removes tissue with accuracy up to 0.25 microns per pulse. Clinical trials using the Excimer laser demonstrated that low to high levels of refractive errors could be corrected with extreme accuracy and predictability.
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) and Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) and Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) are both commonly used today to treat low to high levels of nearsightedness, farsigntedness and astigmatism. Over one million of these Excimer laser procedures are performed every year with minimal complications and side effects. The primary difference between the two procedures is that PRK treats the surface of the cornea while LASIK treats the inner tissue of the cornea. This requires the surgeon to make a protective flap, which is folded back while the laser is applied. LASIK has become the more popular of the two procedures because of removing tissue under the protective flap make LASIK virtually painless and speeds the healing time. Most people having LASIK see well enough to drive without glasses or contacts the very next day.
Intacs™ micro-thin prescription inserts, were introduced in the late 1990s for the treatment of low to moderate levels of nearsightedness. When these micro-inserts are placed between the layers of the cornea, the central cornea flattens, thereby changing the cornea's focusing power and correcting nearsightedness. Intacs leave the central zone of the eye untouched and have the unique advantage of being removable should your vision change or another refractive procedure become a more viable choice for you in the future.
Phakic IOLs are intra-ocular lenses that are placed inside the eye, in front of the eye's lens. For younger patients this allows the lens inside the eye to continue its role of helping the eye focus both near and far. This is called accommodation.
View a patient seminar presentation about Phakic IOLs here.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive Lens Exchange is similar to cataract surgery. As we age, the lens inside the eye loses its ability to focus both near and far. Just as in cataract surgery, refractive lens exchange involves removing the eye's natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens specific to your prescription. These artificial lenses can be fixed focus or multiple focus lenses.
Which of These Procedures is Right for You?
It is very likely that more than one of these procedures would reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. However, every eye is different and everyone has different needs. Your first step is to have a through eye examination to determine the health of your eyes. Together, you and Dr. James Katz, corneal and Laser Refractive Surgeon, will determine which option is best suited for your eye condition and lifestyle.
The decision to have one of these refractive procedures is an important one that only you can make. It is important that you have realistic expectations and that your decision be made on facts, not hopes or misconceptions. The goal of any refractive surgical procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. Dr. Katz cannot guarantee your results. You will be provided with additional information about these procedures that will allow you to make an informed decision prior to giving your consent for surgery. Be sure all your questions are answered to your satisfaction before proceeding.