LASIK Alternatives

Cavanaugh Eye Center can help you achieve freedom from glasses and contacts, even if you are not a LASIK candidate. A LASIK alternative may be right for you!

Deciding on the vision correction procedure that’s right for you is an important task. There are several excellent refractive alternatives for patients that are not good candidates for LASIK: those with thin corneas, extremely high refractive errors, astigmatism, presbyopic patients over 40, early cataracts, dry eyes, or cornea problems. Learn about the different options and ask your eye doctor which LASIK alternative may be best for you.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

original platform What is LASIKPhotorefractive Keratectomy is similar to LASIK as it is laser eye surgery for correcting a person’s vision and reducing dependency on glasses or contact lenses. The PRK procedure uses a laser light beam to reshape the surface of the eye but differs from LASIK as no flap is created during the surgery. In this LASIK alternative, the thin outer skin layer of the cornea (the epithelium) is gently removed and the laser is done on the underlying surface. Vision recovery is a bit slower than LASIK with slightly more discomfort as the new epithelium grows back over the surface over 3-5 days. PRK may be suitable for people with thin corneas, larger pupils, other corneal issues, or dry eyes.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

small refractive lens implants clip image013Refractive Lens Exchange is essentially identical to cataract surgery, but exclusively for refractive purposes. In RLE, the clear natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens implant (IOL). The replacement IOL is customized to the patient’s needs to correct most, if not all, of the patient’s myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and even presbyopia (difficulty reading for patients over 40 years old). Multi-Focus IOLs such as the ReSTOR, Tecnis, or Crystalens IOLs are the implants of choice for patients wanting the greatest freedom from glasses for a full range of vision – so one can see distance and near objects simultaneously quite well in both eyes without glasses in most cases. For this group of patients, these implants can be the best investment they ever make. Insurance DOES NOT cover the cost of these lens implants. RLE may be the best option for people with high refractive error, thin corneas, presbyopia, and/or early cataracts. Because RLE removes the natural lens, there is no possibility of developing a cataract in the future with this LASIK alternative.


The EVO ICL by STAAR Surgical is an Implantable Collamer® Lens (ICL), also known as an Implantable Contact Lens. The EVO ICL is implanted in the eye behind the iris and in front of the natural lens to correct nearsightedness that ranges from -3.00 diopters to -20.00 diopters. Vision correction with the EVO ICL is classified as high definition vision due to the sharpness and clearness of the vision achieved.1

Composed of Collamer®, a collagen copolymer, the EVO ICL is compatible with the natural chemistry of the body so there are minimal risks of lens rejection. Additionally, the EVO ICL has anti-reflective properties and provides ultraviolet protection.

Near Vision Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

NearVision CK – Conductive Keratoplasty is a non-invasive LASIK alternative for people with presbyopia (difficulty reading at near after 40 years old) that induces a bifocal effect and slight myopia in the patient’s non-dominant eye to help improve vision at near. NearVision CK is a surface procedure which which does not involve corneal incisions but rather uses controlled radio waves to gently reshape the curvature of the cornea to improve near vision. A radiofrequency probe is used to apply 8 to 16 spots to the corneal surface away from the center of vision thus giving NearVision CK one of the highest safety profiles among all refractive eye procedures. In the FDA clinical trials, well over 90% of patients could function without glasses for both near and distance tasks with both eyes open with no sight threatening complications whatsoever.

Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI)

LRI is a procedure which corrects astigmatism by using incisions to relax the tension in the cornea that causes it to be out of round. Incisions are placed near the junction of the white and colored part of the eye (the limbus), expand the cornea and effectively convert an oval to a circle, thereby correcting the astigmatism. LRIs can be done as a stand-alone procedure or can be performed in conjunction with cataract and/or refractive lens implant surgery.

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