Overview of refractive surgery

Kraig Scot Bower, Eric D. Weichel, Thomas J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Patients with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism can now reduce or eliminate their dependence on contact lenses and eyeglasses through refractive surgery that includes radial keratotomy (RK), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), laser thermal keratoplasty (LTK) and intrastromal corneal rings (ICR). Since the approval of the excimer laser in 1995, the popularity of RK has declined because of the superior outcomes from PRK and LASIK. In patients with low-to-moderate myopia, PRK produces stable and predictable results with an excellent safety profile. LASIK is also efficacious, predictable and safe, with the additional advantages of rapid vision recovery and minimal pain. LASIK has rapidly become the most widely performed refractive surgery, with high patient and surgeon satisfaction. Noncontact Holium: YAG LTK provides satisfactory correction in patients with low hyperopia. ICR offers patients with low myopia the potential advantage of removal if the vision outcome is unsatisfactory. Despite the current widespread advertising and media attention about laser refractive surgery, not all patients are good candidates for this surgery. Family physicians should be familiar with the different refractive surgeries and their potential complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1190+1193-1194
JournalAmerican family physician
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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  • Cite this

    Bower, K. S., Weichel, E. D., & Kim, T. J. (2001). Overview of refractive surgery. American family physician, 64(7), 1183-1190+1193-1194.