LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) are laser eye surgeries that correct vision problems.
LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea and using a laser to reshape the cornea, while PRK involves removing the cornea’s outer layer and reshaping the underlying tissue with a laser. LASIK is done on both eyes, has a short recovery period, and is ideal for most people.
PRK has a longer recovery time and is ideal for patients with thin corneas or other corneal abnormalities.
Both procedures are effective at treating vision problems, and the choice between the two depends upon the patient’s situation.
Benefits of LASIK
LASIK surgery is a popular and effective method of treating vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Some of the key benefits of LASIK surgery include:
- Immediate Improvement: LASIK patients typically experience improved vision immediately after the procedure. For many people, LASIK can completely eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- Short Procedure: LASIK is a quick procedure, with most surgeries lasting no longer than 15 minutes per eye. Moreover, the results of the procedure are permanent, which can save patients time and money in the long run.
- High Success Rate: Approximately 90 percent of LASIK patients achieve 20/20 to 20/40 vision as a result of the procedure. This means that LASIK is an excellent option for correcting vision problems and helping people achieve the clear eyesight they need to go about their daily lives.
- Minimal Downtime: LASIK patients generally experience only mild discomfort after the surgery, and most people are able to return to their normal daily activities within a day or two. Additionally, the recovery period for LASIK surgery is typically shorter than that of PRK surgery.
If you are considering LASIK surgery, it is important to speak with an experienced surgeon to learn more about the procedure and determine whether it is right for you. With the benefits of LASIK, many people are finding that they can achieve clear vision and a better quality of life without glasses or contact lenses.
Despite being a generally safe procedure, LASIK surgery can carry some potential risks and complications, like any surgical procedure. Most of the common side effects are mild and temporary and go away within 1 to 2 weeks of surgery. Here are some of the risks associated with LASIK surgery:
- Dry eyes: It is common for patients to experience dry eyes after LASIK surgery, which can cause discomfort, burning, and sensitivity to light.
- Halos or glare: Some patients may experience halos or glare around lights, particularly at night. This can be temporary or, in rare cases, permanent.
- Under Corrections or overcorrections: In some cases, LASIK surgery may not completely correct a patient’s vision as intended, resulting in under-corrections or overcorrections. Overcorrections can be corrected with a second surgery, but under-corrections may require additional treatment such as wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- Flap complications: Because LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea to access and reshape the underlying tissue, there is a small risk of flap complications, such as irregular flaps, partial flaps, or flaps that dislodge after the procedure.
Depending on individual circumstances, other less common risks with LASIK surgery may include infection, inflammation, or corneal scarring.
It is worth noting that while these risks are possible, the majority of patients who undergo LASIK surgery enjoy great results and are satisfied with their vision improvement. It is important to speak with your surgeon and discuss any potential risks or concerns before undergoing LASIK surgery.
Patients suitable for LASIK surgery
It is also important for patients to fully understand the details and risks of the procedure, and to maintain realistic expectations for the outcome.
LASIK is a popular method of vision correction that can help many individuals achieve clear eyesight without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. Here are some important factors to consider when determining whether LASIK is right for you:
- Age: To be eligible for LASIK, patients must be at least 18 years old. This is because the eyes continue to change and develop before this age, making it difficult to achieve accurate and stable results.
- Health: Patients considering LASIK should be in good overall health and free of any underlying conditions that could affect their ability to heal. Pregnant or nursing women are not eligible for the procedure.
- Stable vision: Patients should have had stable vision for at least 6 months prior to undergoing LASIK surgery. This is important to ensure that the procedure will be effective and that the results will be long-lasting.
- Healthy corneas: Patients must have healthy corneal tissue that is thick enough for a flap to be created during the LASIK procedure.
In addition to meeting these criteria, it is also important for patients to understand the details and risks of the LASIK procedure, as well as to maintain realistic expectations for the outcome. Working closely with an experienced LASIK surgeon can help patients determine whether they are good candidates for the procedure and make an informed decision about their vision correction options.
The LASIK procedure
- Numbing eye drops are administered to reduce any discomfort.
- The patient reclines in a chair, and the laser is positioned over the eye.
- A speculum is used to keep the eye open while it is cleaned.
- Anesthetic eye drops are applied prior to creating a corneal flap with either a blade or a laser.
- The surface of the cornea is gently lifted aside, allowing the excimer laser to reshape it according to each patient’s prescription.
- Pulses of light energy are delivered by the excimer laser based on individual measurements.
- Installation of protective shields after treatment is complete to protect eyes from bright lights.
Recovery time after LASIC Surgery
After LASIK, patients rest in the ophthalmologist’s office and may have someone take them home. Medication is prescribed to relieve any discomfort for 24-48 hours and the doctor recommends a few hours of rest.
Most can return to work and activities the next day but should avoid strenuous activities for at least a week.
Improvement in vision is immediate but full benefits may not be apparent until months later. While LASIK can bring clear vision, it does not prevent presbyopia which requires reading glasses beyond age 40.
Benefits of PRK
PRK eye surgery helps to accurately and precisely correct vision with more control than LASIK. It sculpts the cornea instead of cutting it, ensuring its strength is maintained. These are the advantages of PRK:
- Shallower depth of laser treatment
- No corneal flap complications
- Ability to be performed on thin corneas
PRK is recommended for patients who have a higher risk of eye injury (e.g. boxers) and those whose pupils are too large or whose corneas are too thin for LASIK. It also eliminates the potential complication of corneal ectasia that can cause distorted vision or permanent vision loss in patients undergoing LASIK.
The popular PRK surgery has been a successful refractive procedure in many cases, allowing people with vision issues to have better sight. However, like any kind of medical procedure, there can be some risks involved with PRK. It’s important for anyone considering the surgery to know and understand the potential risks that come with it.
- Loss of vision
- Paralysis of the eyelid muscles
- Damage to the corneal nerves
- Reduced reaction to light and difficulty adapting to night vision
- Infection, inflammation, or bleeding in the eye area
- Scarring on the cornea
A doctor should be consulted before undergoing any such procedure so one knows what exactly to expect ahead of time.
The PRK procedure
- Administering anesthetic eye drops to numb the eyes
- Using an excimer laser with targeted laser energy to reshape the cornea
- The surgeon has complete control over the laser for a highly precise result
- The procedure takes only a few minutes and is often performed on one eye at a time
- Post-procedure, eyes are bandaged with a soft contact lens to protect the cornea
- Cells will regrow in the days that follow, and the contact lens is removed by the surgeon in a follow-up examination