LASIK and Photo Refractive Keratectomy Eye Surgery Options
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a minimally invasive refractive surgery to improve vision. It corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. With LASIK, a thin flap of cornea is created using a femtosecond laser. An excimer laser is then used to reshape the cornea beneath the flap to improve the patient’s vision without glasses and/or contact lenses. The flap is then gently laid back in place covering the area that was reshaped.
LASIK Surgery Process
During the procedure, you will receive numbing eye drops to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. The surgeon will create a thin, customized corneal flap with a femtosecond laser. Then, the surgeon will gently lay back the corneal flap. The surgeon will then use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea. The corneal flap is then gently laid back down and acts as a natural bandage as the eye heals. This entire process in completed in just a few minutes.
After LASIK Surgery
Directly after the eye surgery, you should rest a bit and have a friend or family member drive you home. You will be given antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to be used after the surgery. Typically, little pain or discomfort is noticed after LASIK surgery. It is normal for your vision to be blurry for the first few hours after the surgery. As this period passes, many patients will notice a significant improvement in their vision within the first 24 hours. You will be seen the next day and at a couple more follow-up visits to ensure that everything is healing properly.
If you have any questions about LASIK or need to know how to prep for the procedure, reach out to the Summit Eye Center team at anytime. We will make sure that you are as prepared as possible for this life changing experience!
Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)
PRK vs. LASIK Eye Surgery
Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a minimally invasive refractive surgery to repair vision. PRK is similar to LASIK surgery, where the procedure corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that during the PRK procedure, the corneal skin (epithelium) is polished off before the laser treatment where during LASIK surgery, a small flap is cut in the epithelium. LASIK has a quicker healing time where the healing process takes a little longer after PRK. Sometimes, PRK is the best procedure for specific patients. Your pre-operative evaluation will determine which procedure is best for you.
PRK Surgery Process
During the procedure, you’ll receive numbing eye drops to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. The surgeon will gently remove a center surface area of corneal cells, then a laser is used to reshape cornea’s outer surface. This process is typically done within a few minutes and you’ll be awake for the entire process. Once finished, our patients receive a soft bandage that is placed over the cornea to protect the eye and improve comfort during the healing process. The new epithelial cells should grow back within 4-5 days and once it does, your eye doctor will then remove the bandage from the cornea.
After the PRK Surgery
Directly after the eye surgery, you should rest for a bit and have a friend or family member drive you home. You’ll receive topical antibiotics and pain medication to help with any post-procedure eye pain and discomfort, as well as an anti-inflammatory. In order for us to monitor the healing process, you’ll have a couple of follow-up appointments with us to ensure everything is healing properly for your safety. While the recovery takes longer than LASIK, it may be a couple of weeks before your vision recovers, and longer to everything to equalize.
Advantages of PRK:
- Deepness of laser treatment is less than with LASIK
- For those with a thin cornea, PRK is the most suitable option
- There isn’t a risk of corneal flap issues
- Lessened risk of compromised corneal thickness
Disadvantages of PRK:
- Recovery process is slower than it would be with LASIK surgery
- Final vision takes longer to achieve
- The risk of post-procedure infection is a bit higher
- During early recovery phase, there’s some eye discomfort
Have questions about photo refractive keratectomy surgery or need to know how to prep for the procedure? Reach out to the Summit Eye Center team and they’ll make sure you’re as prepared as possible
Content reviewed by Kelsey J. Kleinsasser, O.D.