Is the Corneal Inlay Procedure the Same as LASIK?

By , February 24th, 2016

Today, LASIK is a word commonly associated with all laser vision correction, but that’s actually not the case. LASIK is one type of laser vision correction procedure that involves reshaping the cornea to improve vision for patients experiencing nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. There are other laser vision correction procedures that address different issues, such as the Corneal Inlay Procedure that specifically treats presbyopia, also known as near or “over-40” vision.

Are Lasers Used in the Corneal Inlay Procedure?

Yes. The use of a laser is the only actual similarity between the two procedures. During LASIK, an eye care professional uses a femtosecond laser to create a small flap in the cornea. A second laser, an excimer, is then used to reshape the cornea. That first step is similar in the Corneal Inlay Procedure–a femtosecond laser is used to create a small pocket in the cornea, so that the inlay may be inserted.

However, during the Corneal Inlay Procedure, the cornea shape remains unchanged. The inlay is instead inserted into the cornea.

What Is a Corneal Inlay?

A corneal Inlay is a tiny, ring-shaped device that is placed securely within the cornea, allowing the eye to have a greater depth of focus. Smaller and thinner than the average contact lens, the Corneal Inlay is only 3.8 mm in diameter with a 1.6 mm central opening (pinhole). Surrounding the pinhole in the center, are 8,400 microscopic openings to allow oxygen and other nutrients to flow naturally through the eye.

How Does the Procedure Work?

During an in-office procedure, the inlay is implanted into the cornea of the non-dominant eye, several layers above the pupil. This device takes advantage of the same “pinhole effect” that is used in photography to create a greater depth of focus. The small opening in the corneal inlay only allows focused light to enter the eye, improving near vision. Like LASIK, the procedure is relatively quick. It takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

corneal inlay

Can LASIK or the Corneal Inlay Procedure Be Reversed?

Changes to the cornea during LASIK cannot truly be reversed. However, the corneal inlay implantation may be taken out if complications develop. In most cases, vision returns to the previous state after removal of the cornea inlay.

LASIK and the Corneal Inlay Procedure are not the same thing, but they can work together to offer patients optimal visual results. For example, LASIK may be used to correct astigmatism, and the Corneal Inlay may be able to improve near vision.

Not sure which one or both are right for you? Live chat your questions to one of our friendly patient counselors now or schedule a Free Corneal Inlay consultation today.

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