Your Guide to Alternatives to LASIK

LASIK is a popular option for people who don’t want to depend on wearing glasses or contact lenses for clear vision, however there are many alternatives to LASIK so it’s important to know the available options in order to choose the best method for you.

LASIK tends to be a very well known kind of laser eye surgery, however there are many alternatives, including different types of refractive surgeries. There are specific factors which are crucial in order to qualify for LASIK surgery which means that it is not a suitable option for everyone. In addition, the method for this kind of surgery involves forming a flap in the cornea which is the clear part that covers the surface of the eye and plays an essential role in our visual system. This flap has advantages, in addition to disadvantages. Thankfully, there are a variety of other options available for refractive surgeries so that each person can weigh out the benefits and risks to figure out the best approach for their vision and lifestyle. A brief overview of alternatives to LASIK is provided below, but please schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss the possibilities in depth. Together you can figure out which method is best for you, for your health, and for your eyesight.

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Orthokeratology (Ortho K)

Before delving into various refractive surgery options, it’s important to know that there is an alternative option to LASIK which does not involve surgery, and thus it is not permanent. This method is known as Ortho K which uses special lenses that reshape the cornea while the person wears the lenses each night. Upon waking up in the morning, the lenses are removed and the person can enjoy clear vision throughout the day without wearing glasses or contact lenses. If the person wishes to stop using Ortho K, the cornea goes back to its original shape, making this a reversible and very effective option. For more information, please schedule an appointment at our office and our eye doctor will gladly discuss orthokeratology further with you to see if it’s a suitable option.

Photorefractive Keratometry (PRK)

Both PRK and LASIK use the exact same type of laser for the procedure and both reshape the cornea. The difference is that they each work on a different layer of the cornea. As a result, PRK is suitable for people with thin corneas who do not qualify for LASIK. In LASIK, a flap is formed in the cornea during surgery, whereas in PRK that is not the case. This makes PRK a more suitable option for people who live a very active lifestyle which can increase risk for complications due to the flap. PRK is a very quick procedure in which the outer layer of the cornea is removed and then grows back over time, and therefore there’s a longer period of healing. LASIK generally takes a few days to heal, as opposed to PRK which takes approximately a month to heal. Most people who get LASIK can see clearly within a few hours after surgery, but in photorefractive keratometry most people will gain 70% of their vision after one week and can drive at that point, yet it takes around a month to be mostly healed. 

Common Questions

Depends. If you got LASIK to correct your distance vision, you may need to wear contact lenses again once you reach presbyopia. Presbyopia is a normal part of age processing that starts around age 40-50 resulting in near vision blur. Thus you would need reading glasses/contacts to help you see clearly up close. Additionally, the front part of your eye is flattened after LASIK, so your eye doctor will have to choose a contact lens with a flatter curvature to properly fit on your eye.
The answer is yes and no. If your goal is to stay out of glasses and contacts throughout the day then there is an alternative called ortho-keratalogy (ortho-K) hard contact lenses. These are specialty lenses that are custom designed for you to sleep with at night; the lenses gently applies pressure and reshape your cornea (the front curvature of your eye) to safely and gently improve your vision, such that when you wake up in the morning and remove the lenses you’re able to see clearly without any correction throughout the day. However, the difference between LASIK and ortho-K is that ortho-K is not permanent, you have to wear the ortho-K lenses every night or else your cornea will go back to its original shape. Talk to your eye doctor to see which treatment you’re a better candidate for.
To see clearly after LASIK, it takes only a few days or less, whereas for PRK, it takes about a month. As long as the procedure is done by a licensed, experienced surgeon, the results should be the same. When it comes to recommendations about any surgical procedure it is important to consult our optometrist to determine what procedure would be best for you and receive a referral to a recommended eye surgeon in New York. A PRK procedure leaves no flap on your cornea, making it safer and more effective in the long run. LASIK leaves behind a flap that in rare cases may sustain greater damage if the eye is injured.
Your Guide to Alternatives to LASIK
Dr. Wernick cartoon


LASIK is a wonderful option for refractive surgery, but every procedure comes with its benefits and risks. There are other methods for refractive surgery and non-surgical options, available for those who are not qualified to get LASIK for various reasons. Please schedule Book an Appointment with our eye doctor to figure out what is the best option for you. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (212) 752-6930. Patients who are nearsighted or looking for a LASIK alternative visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of contact lens services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.

Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.

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Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.

Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.

Allen B.
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