If you are thinking about laser vision correction, there are a few different techniques available to choose from. Two of these are known as LASIK and PRK. Both are highly effective ways of improving your vision so that you can reduce your reliance on prescription eyewear. In fact, some patients find that they can go without using glasses or contact lenses at all!
With various laser vision correction techniques to choose from, how do you know which is the best one for you? We’ve got the lowdown on LASIK and PRK to help you to make an informed decision.
LASIK stands for Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis. This very popular and well-known laser vision correction technique is performed by creating a flap in the outer layer of corneal tissue, called the epithelium. This is done using a small, handheld blade called a microkeratome and the hinged flap is then opened to access the underlying cornea. Once open, a laser is used to precisely and accurately reshape the corneal tissue however is needed to improve your vision.
PRK stands for photo-refractive keratectomy. Many people are surprised to discover that the PRK technique was actually developed before LASIK, making it older and even more well-established. The key difference between LASIK and PRK surgery is that in PRK, rather than creating a flap in the epithelium, instead the entire epithelium is removed and discarded. This eliminates the need to create a flap, and also the risk of flap-related complications, which can be common in LASIK patients. Don’t worry – the epithelium grows back.
So, how do you know which is right for you? LASIK or PRK? We’ve summarised the key elements that you may wish to consider.
Something that your laser vision correction surgeon will look at during your consultation is the thickness of your cornea. This is important since for patients to be a good candidate for LASIK, they must have an adequate corneal thickness so that the flap can be created. If you have a thin or irregular cornea, you may be recommended to have PRK surgery instead.
Dry eye is a very common condition that occurs when your eyes don’t make enough good quality tear film, or if it drains too quickly. If you are naturally pre-disposed to dry eye, you’ll probably be recommended to have PRK rather than LASIK. This is because dry eye is a very common side effect of LASIK, meaning that your condition could potentially get worse.
As stated above, flap-related complications can occur after LASIK, and usually relate to a problem with how the flap has been replaced and healed. They can include particles trapped under the flap, poor healing, wrinkles in the flap, and more. PRK eliminates the risk of these complications.
Since the entire epithelium is removed, patients will need to wait for this to regenerate rather than simply waiting for the flap to heal. This takes a little longer, so you can expect the recovery from PRK to take more time too. Most patients who have LASIK will start to find their vision returning to normal within around 48 hours. However, with PRK it could take up to a week for your vision to become clearer and most patients take at least a week off of work.
It’s normal for your eyes to feel a little sore and irritated after any laser vision correction procedure. However, with PRK there is a higher chance of post-surgery discomfort than there is with LASIK. You’ll be advised what you can do to help ease this and get you feeling happier and more comfortable.
For more on LASIK and PRK, visit Pinnacle Eye Group of Lambertville in Lambertville, Michigan. Call (734) 562-0099 to schedule an appointment today.