Prior to LASIK, Radial Keratotomy, or “RK”, was the most common procedure to correct myopia, or nearsightedness. For many patients, RK did a great job of freeing them from glasses and contact lenses. But over the decades since RK was the main procedure used for vision correction, some patients may have noticed that their prescription has drifted, and they may once again need glasses or contacts lenses for their best vision.
This leads to a very common question,
“If I had RK in the past, am I eligible for LASIK?”
The short answer is ‘Yes’. The full answer is that even though LASIK can be done years and even decades after RK, there may be even better solutions for your new vision correction needs.
Aside from LASIK, the two most common procedures that we use to free patients from glasses and contacts when they’ve had RK in the past are:
Even though PRK and RK share a few letters in their name, they are not related. PRK is more closely related to LASIK. It actually uses the same laser as LASIK, but doesn’t require making a flap. You can think of it as “LASIK, but without the flap”. By not making a flap, the procedure avoids any complications associated with making a LASIK in a patient who has scars from the RK procedure in their corneas. This can result in an even safer procedure than LASIK. In some cases, the RK scars may allow for LASIK to be performed. If you decide that laser vision correction is right for you, at Magruder Laser Vision, you’ll have a detailed discussion with your surgeon about why LASIK or PRK might be a better option for you.
Refractive Lens Exchange
(also known as “Custom Lens Exchange”)
The other options is called “Custom Lens Exchange”. Because most patients who had RK years ago are now around the age of 50 or older. When patients reach this age, their natural lens becomes stiffer, changes shape, and begins becoming cloudy. This is part of the natural aging process and happens to everyone if they have enough birthdays! When your lens reaches this stage, we call it “dysfunctional lens syndrome”.
In Custom Lens Exchange, we remove your natural dysfunctional lens, and replace it with a custom lens implant to correct your prescription at the same time. This accomplishes two goals – First, it corrects your vision. Second, it addresses your dysfunctional lens so that it doesn’t continue to get worse. Therefore, it tends to be a more long-lasting solution than LASIK or PRK.
Determining which procedure is best for you involves a lot of individual factors that are unique to each person. Part of your consultation at Magruder Laser Vision will be to discuss the differences between LASIK, PRK, and Refractive Lens Exchange in the context of your lifestyle, activities, and history.
Still have questions? Want to schedule your consultation? Contact us at 407-843-5665 to find out more information about the solution that’s right for you.