Get a jump on your New Year’s resolution with new and improved vision. Until contact lenses became popular in the 1950s, eyeglasses for at least the past seven centuries had been the only practical way to correct refractive vision errors. Over the past 25 years, surgical techniques, tools, and procedures for vision correction have evolved rapidly.
If you are tired of wearing glasses and contacts, there are several modern approaches to corrective eye surgery ranging from laser reshaping of the eye's surface. Procedures such as LASIK and PRK to surgical insertion of artificial lenses will correct and improve eyesight. Here are some of the top procedures to improve vision.
LASIK. Stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The laser used for LASIK was created in the 1970s, and most eye doctors used the laser for the treatment of nearsightedness (myopia). Over time, doctors and scientists refined the LASIK procedure. This resulted in it becoming safer and more effective.
Today, LASIK is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The goal of LASIK is to correct your refractive error to improve your vision. About 9 out of 10 people (90%) who have LASIK end up with vision between 20/20 and 20/40—without glasses or contact lenses. LASIK may reduce your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses and may even allow you to do without them completely. Most insurance companies do not cover LASIK because laser eye surgery is nearly always considered an elective procedure. However, we are seeing new insurance companies that do include laser vision correction, so double check with your provider.
PRK. Stands for photorefractive keratectomy has made somewhat of a comeback in recent years because of studies indicating that PRK and LASIK produce similar outcomes. Also, nerve regeneration in the eye's surface appears to take place faster with PRK than with LASIK following a procedure, which could have implications for reducing dry eye and other complications that might occur until the healing process is complete. Since PRK is considered an elective surgery, it is not likely to be covered by insurance. Like LASIK, some of the initial scans or exams leading up to PRK may be partially covered by your vision insurance, but the cost of the surgery itself probably will not be covered.
IOL. Intraocular Implant is a clear, artificial lens implant used to replace a cloudy natural lens in cataract surgery. New lens implants can partially restore a person's near vision in addition to correcting nearsightedness and farsightedness. These lenses, called multifocal IOLs or accommodating IOLs, currently are being used by many cataract surgeons, with promising results. Also, toric IOLs that correct astigmatism can be used during cataract surgery to further reduce the need for eyeglasses after cataracts are removed. In most instances, with certain limitations, cataract surgery costs are covered under both private insurance plans and Medicare.
While some eye problems and eye diseases become more prevalent with age, many can be prevented or corrected. To determine whether you are a candidate for any vision correction procedure, Dr. Shofner will thoroughly examine your eyes and offer the best recommendation for improved vision. Contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam or complimentary LASIK exam today and see clear for the new year.