One of the first things put on in the morning and one of the last things taken off in the evening, glasses and contacts play a large part in the everyday lives of those who depend upon them to see clearly. These two types of corrective lenses allow for clearer vision, but glasses and contacts are also inconvenient. Sports, especially contact sports, are more difficult to play when glasses get in the way or break. For those who can wear them, contacts are an improvement over glasses; wearing contacts for 18 hours a day, however, is not healthy for the contacts or the eyes. Therefore, other methods are desired to correct vision.
Ophthalmologists have long dreamed of equipment and techniques to permanently correct refractive problems. For more than 100 years, doctors have been exploring the use of surgery to reduce or eliminate patient's dependence on glasses and contacts ["Refractive," 1997]. This dream came true with the introduction of refractive surgical techniques for the correction of myopia and astigmatism. In refractive surgery, various micro-surgical procedures are used to re-shape the front surface of the cornea. Four main refractive eye procedures are clinically being studied: radial keratectomy (RK), automated lamellar keratoplasty (ALK), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK). These four common procedures in refractive eye surgery will be compared and contrasted while taking into account the limitations of comparison such as the patient and the extent of the correction needed.
Function of the Eye
The human eye is a complex organ with a primary function of focusing light on the retina to provide the sense of sight f...
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McFadden, Murray, Dr. "Laser Eye Surgery, PRK, LASIK," http://www.prk.com/ (Madison: University of Wisconsin, November 1997).
Raeburn, Paul, "Keep Your Eye on the Laser," Business Week (30 September 1996), p. 40.
"Refractive Surgery Frequently Asked Questions," http://www.isrs.org/library/faq (Madison: University of Wisconsin, November 1997).
Sanders, Donald, Radial Keratotomy (Thorofare: SLACK Incorporated, 1984), pp. 1-16.
Sulting, Dr., "Laser In-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK),"
http://www.emory.org/vision_correction/ (Madison: University of Wisconsin, November 1997).
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