It is common for people with an imperfect vision to imagine a life without glasses. While corrective lenses provide a great temporary solution for common refractive vision errors, glasses and contacts can be a hassle.
This is one of the many reasons why laser eye centers are filled with new patients interested in a more permanent solution for their vision problems.
Laser eye surgery is a great solution for individuals who are longing to get rid of contacts and glasses. However, patients are faced with the question of which laser eye surgery is best. Often, patients need to choose between diamond lasik Surgery and PRK.
Lasik is currently the most popular laser eye surgery in the United States and the world. Lasik, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses, has been available to patients since the late 1990s. After the FDA approved the technology, Lasik quickly gained popularity among ophthalmologists. It has since been used to bring millions of people worldwide perfect, 20/20 vision and freedom from corrective lenses.
During the Lasik procedure, a small flap is made above the cornea; then, a cool beam laser is used to reshape the cornea and eliminate imperfections that cause refractive errors.
After the cornea is shaped, the flap is replaced. The entire process takes less than 20 minutes for both eyes. Patients are able to enjoy perfect vision almost immediately, and only need a single day to recover.
Before Lasik gained its popularity, PRK was the most popular choice among laser eye surgeons. PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, was a predecessor of Lasik and has been available since the early 1980s. Though it is not the newest option in laser eye surgery, PRK remains a viable option to achieve 20/20 vision and independence from corrective lenses.
The PRK procedure is very much like Lasik. Instead of creating the initial flap, a laser burns away the outer layer of the cornea, also called the epithelium. A second cool beam laser then reshapes the cornea, and protective contacts are put in place for the duration of the patient’s recovery. Unlike Lasik, the recovery period associated with PRK is slightly longer. The patient must wait approximately a week while the epithelium regenerates.
If a patient only considers the recovery time, Lasik surgery seems like the obvious choice. Its quick recovery time is one of the reasons that it is so widely recommended by ophthalmologists and laser eye surgeons! However, certain patients may find that PRK is better surgery for their needs.
Patients who are active military personnel, athletes, or enjoy a profession or hobby that is the high impact will benefit from PRK.
Because this procedure does not create a corneal flap, there is no worry that a harsh impact will re-open the flap. PRK is also a good option for patients who are not candidates for Lasik surgery; patients with thin corneas, steep corneas, or previous eye surgeries may be eligible for only PRK. Ultimately, the decision belongs to your Lasik surgeon, but all patients should be prepared for options. Either choice will result in improved vision and less dependence on glasses!