Refractive Surgery

Refractive Surgery

Many special needs patients deal with communication, emotional, learning, and sensory challenges associated with their medical condition that make wearing glasses and contact lenses extremely difficult, even impossible. While refractive surgery such as PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) is usually reserved for adults, Wills Eye Hospital now has a refractive surgery program for children.

Pediatric patients who are three years of age and older and have serious medical conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, craniofacial deformities, orthopedic deformities, and other neurobehavioral abnormalities may be eligible for refractive surgery performed under anesthesia.

This type of corrective refractive surgery is considered a viable alternative for special needs patients who also have:

  • Significant refractive error;
  • Risk of amblyopia; or
  • An underlying history of strabismus for whom standard treatments aren’t applicable or have failed.

Performing refractive surgery on patients with unique needs requires a large, coordinated and time-consuming effort. Wills Eye is one of the few places in the world providing LASIK/PRK surgery for these patients under anesthesia. Extensive care is required before, during and after the procedure. The medical staff is highly trained to sensitively respond to special needs patients. Refractive surgery is often their last chance to lead sighted lives.

Examinations, evaluations and procedures are adapted to the individual needs that each patient presents. Patients can expect all clinic visits to be 3-4 hours. For all appointments and surgery families are kept together for as much time as possible.