Surgery to reduce or eliminate eyeglasses and contact lenses started in the 1950's with an early form of radial keratotomy. While initial developments were slow, the past decade has witnessed a technical revolution of safer, more effective, and more accurate techniques. The ideal refractive surgery would completely eliminate glasses and / or contact lenses, be reversible and with little or no risk for loss of vision. Although no current procedure can meet these goals, there are excellent techniques available that adequately meet patient's expectations.
The traditional RK (radial keratotomy) has been replaced with Laser Vision correction (LASIK, PRK,LASEK), Clear Lens Replacement, Phakic Intraocular Lens implants and CK (conductive Keratoplasty). New techniques are constantly emerging.
The most common popular procedures for Vision Correction today are LASIK, LASEK and PRK. All of these techniques use an excimer laser to change the curvature of the cornea. LASEK and PRK eliminate the flap formed in LASIK surgery but are otherwise very similar to LASIK.
Intra-ocular Lens Implants similar to those used for cataract surgery are now used for vision correction. With these techniques the surgery moves from the cornea to the inside of the eye and the corneal curve is not changed. Instead an implant is either placed in front of the human crystalline lens (Phakic IOL) or the human lens is replaced with and implant (Clear Lens Replacement) in an identical procedure to cataract surgery.
Lens implant technology is evolving and may soon allow accommodation (the ability to change focus form far to near without the need for reading glasses or bifocals)