LASIK Alternatives (PRK, CLR, EVO, etc.)

LASIK Alternatives

Not all patients are good candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas or other conditions. Great Plains Eye Specialistsoffers the following surgeries as LASIK alternatives in Rapid City:

  • PRK
  • EVO ICL™
  • Custom Lens Replacement
  • Blended Vision LASIK


PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of laser surgery that can produce similar vision results to LASIK vision correction and it can be performed on some patients with thin corneas. The difference between LASIK and PRK is in the corneal flap step of the refractive surgery procedure.

  • LASIK: a hinged corneal flap is created to allow access to the underlying corneal tissue for laser treatment
  • PRK: the cornea’s outer layer (epithelial) is gently removed to allow access to the underlying corneal tissue for laser treatment

The laser refractive treatment is the same for both LASIK and PRK: the cornea is slightly reshaped to correct the refractive error and allow light to focus on the retina for clear vision. Each laser treatment can be completely customized to your unique eye. During PRK, the epithelial cells need time to regenerate over the eye. Recovery and final vision results for PRK will take longer than LASIK and the healing process may be slightly more uncomfortable. However, there is no risk of corneal flap complications with PRK.


Sometimes LASIK is not the best option for vision correction because it involves the removal of corneal tissue to alter the shape of the cornea. Implantable Collamer® Lenses (ICLs) are another way to achieve sharp vision by inserting biocompatible lenses into your eyes that can be removed in the future if necessary. At Great Plains Eye Specialists, we offer the EVO ICL™ for patients between the ages of 21-45 who have:

  • Mild to severe nearsightedness or astigmatism
  • Thin corneas
  • History of dry eye

How EVO Works

Made from biocompatible Collamer®, this lens is implanted into your eye through a small corneal incision. The lens allows light entering the eye to focus on the retina for clear vision. Some patients will see more clearly immediately after the surgery is performed. There is typically very little discomfort and no pain for most patients because the eye is numbed with a topical or local anesthetic prior to surgery. It is performed as an outpatient surgery.

Benefits of EVO ICL

  • Collamer lens material works in harmony with your eye’s natural chemistry
  • Less chance of dry eye
  • Excellent night vision
  • Provides a layer of UV protection for your eyes
  • Permanent, yet removable option for vision improvement
  • Surgery takes just ~20-30 minutes per eye
  • Results are often immediate
  • Lens is unnoticeable to others

Custom Lens Replacement

LASIK vision correction is not always the best treatment option for patients who are severely farsighted (meaning they have trouble seeing clearly up-close). In a similar circumstance, some people in their 40s and 50s come into our office complaining that their near vision is getting worse and they are worried that they are becoming farsighted. In reality, most of these patients are experiencing the signs of presbyopia.

Surprisingly, these are two different vision conditions that can both be corrected by the same surgery: custom lens replacement (CLR). This process involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial Intraocular Lens (IOL) that is designed specifically to help you achieve the clear vision you want. After a comprehensive evaluation, our doctors can recommend the right type of IOL to meet your vision requirements. CLR is very similar to cataract surgery – but you do not have to have cataracts to experience the benefits! In fact, if you undergo CLR, you will never develop cataracts in the future!

How Custom Lens Replacement Works

Our surgeons begin the CLR surgery by applying numbing eye drops to the eye being treated (only one eye is treated during the visit). The surgeon then makes a small incision on the eye. A device is then used to gently break up and remove the natural lens and then your surgeon inserts the new lens inside your eye. The surgery typically takes about 15 minutes and the incisions heal naturally without any stitches.

Plan to allow yourself a week to recover from CLR. Your final vision results may take a bit longer to achieve as your vision stabilizes. Your new lens will not be noticeable to other people and you won’t even know it is there – you’ll just be reminded of how great life can be without lenses.

Blended Vision LASIK

Blended Vision LASIK is a technique to reduce the need for reading glasses or bifocals for people over age 40. A condition called presbyopia occurs to most people over age 40 as the natural lenses in our eyes lose flexibility. In Blended Vision LASIK, one eye is corrected for near vision and the other eye is corrected for distance vision. Remarkably, the brain works out which eye to use and when, and the need for readers is greatly reduced.

Are you ready for clear vision? If so, contact us at (605) 519-5071 or click here to request a free LASIK Consultation online to find out which type of vision correction surgery might be right for you.

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