New options for vision correction: Which procedure is right for you?

Experience, technology allow Hoopes Vision doctors to select the proper procedure for a wide range of patients

Hoopes Vision

Published: Monday, Nov. 12 2012 3:54 p.m. MST

The first experimental studies on refractive surgery were published nearly one hundred fifteen years ago by an ophthalmologist in Holland. Today, many options are available to surgically correct one's vision. Those looking to rid themselves of glasses or contact lenses may be confused as to which option, if any, is best for them.

It is important to visit a facility with surgeons who are experienced and comfortable with a wide range of surgical vision correction options when investigating vision correction surgery. According to Phillip C. Hoopes, MD, chief surgeon at Hoopes Vision, "when determining which form of vision correction surgery is best for an individual, the surgeon must consider the age and health of the patient, degree of refractive prescription to be treated, the patient's individual vision requirements, and the anatomy of the patient's eye. Laser vision correction is a popular choice, but some people will be better off with a lens implant. In some cases no current form of vision correction surgery is appropriate."

Current vision correction options can be classified into three main groups: first, surgery that changes the shape of the cornea (the clear dome that covers the front of the eye) such as LASIK or PRK; second, implantable lenses that are inserted between the cornea and the natural lens inside the eye (ICLs); and third, intraocular lenses (IOLs) that replace the eye's natural crystalline lens after it has been removed.

The first group (changing the shape of the cornea) includes LASIK, IntraLASIK, PRK, and many similar variations. This is often the first type of surgery that patients consider when thinking of correcting their vision. FDA approved in 1995, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) was the first approved laser vision correction procedure that removes tissue to correct vision. LASIK and then IntraLASIK were approved soon after, and have become the most popular choice. PRK is still a good choice for patients with thinner or irregular corneas. Generally speaking, laser vision correction is the first choice for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. People in their 40s and older may also find laser vision correction to be the best choice for their needs. These patients have options such as monovision or blended vision, where the laser corrects one eye for distance and the other for near vision, as a solution to presbyopia (difficulty with near vision that starts around age 40).

Some people find that their corneas are too thin, or their prescription is too strong for laser vision correction. These patients may be excellent candidates for implantable lenses (ICLs). Think of these like contact lenses that can be implanted either just in front of or just behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). These lenses can correct higher prescriptions than lasers are able to. They cannot be felt, and generally cannot be seen. As with LASIK, patients that can naturally change focus from near to far should still be able to do so after this procedure and monovision can also be created with ICLs.

The third option for vision correction is to remove the natural crystalline lens and replace it with an artificial implanted lens. This is sometimes recommended to patients in their 50s, 60s, and beyond. This type of vision correction surgery includes cataract surgery, where the lens must be removed because it has become cloudy. This is the most commonly performed vision surgery in the world. New multifocal and accommodating lenses are now able to correct both distance and near vision allowing most patients to function without glasses for distance or reading. Patients may opt to have these lenses implanted, even if they do not have cataracts, with a procedure known as clear lens exchange (CLE).

The surgeons at Hoopes Vision are experienced with each of these surgical options and have access to the newest technology associated with each form of vision correction. They have an on-site laser surgical suite for LASIK, PRK, and IntraLASIK surgery, as well as an on-site, Medicare-approved, ambulatory surgical center where ICL and IOL surgeries are performed. If you would like to know which type of vision correction is best for your needs, please schedule a complimentary evaluation with one of the doctors at Hoopes Vision. Call (801) 568-0200 to schedule your complimentary screening.

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