Laser Refractive Surgery
LASIK and PRK Vision Correction
Procedures such as LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are surgical options for correcting vision refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) and presbyopia (farsightedness).
What is LASIK?
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a type of refractive eye surgery that uses a laser to reshape the cornea in order to improve vision. The cornea is the clear, front part of the eye that helps focus light onto the retina.
During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon creates a thin flap in the cornea using a special tool called a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. The flap is then lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue, and a computer-guided laser is used to remove a precise amount of corneal tissue to reshape the curvature of the cornea. The goal of the laser treatment is to improve the eye’s ability to focus light and correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
After the laser treatment is complete, the surgeon carefully repositions the corneal flap back into place, where it adheres without the need for stitches. The flap serves as a natural bandage, helping to protect the eye and promote healing.
LASIK is a safe and effective procedure that has helped millions of people around the world achieve better vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. However, like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks and potential complications, so it is important to discuss the procedure with your eye doctor and undergo a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
What is PRK vision correction?
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is another type of refractive eye surgery that is used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK is similar to LASIK in that it uses a laser to reshape the cornea, but the main difference is that with PRK, the surgeon removes the entire outer layer of the cornea, rather than creating a flap as in LASIK.
During the PRK procedure, the surgeon uses a special tool called a microkeratome or a laser to remove the thin outer layer of the cornea (called the epithelium). Once the epithelium has been removed, a laser is used to reshape the cornea to correct the refractive error. Unlike LASIK, there is no flap created and the surface of the cornea is directly exposed to the laser.
After the laser treatment is complete, the surgeon places a soft contact lens over the cornea to protect it while it heals. Over the course of several days or weeks, the epithelium grows back, and the contact lens is removed.
While PRK may be a better option for certain patients, such as those with thin corneas or a history of eye trauma, the recovery time is typically longer compared to LASIK. It may take several days or weeks for the vision to fully stabilize and the epithelium to heal, during which time patients may experience discomfort or sensitivity to light.
Like LASIK, PRK is a safe and effective procedure that can help improve vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. However, it is important to discuss the procedure with your eye doctor and undergo a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you are a good candidate for PRK.
When you are considering laser surgery to improve your vision, contact Coastal Skin and Eye Institute to schedule an eye exam with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists to learn about all your options. We have offices in Carmel Mountain and Encinitas for your convenience.