What is the difference between Lasik and PRK?

What is the difference between Lasik and PRK?

mizbebe asked:

I was informed all about Lasik but once it came down to it the doctor said I could only have PRK laser surgery and not Lasik. I don’t know much about PRK.. I mean I know it takes longer to heal and I basically know the procedure.. but I wasn’t informed of the side affects it may have and I can’t seem to find the information I need online. Has anyone had this surgery? WHta were your results and did it hurt? I need as much information as possible please before I make a decision. I will be calling the doctor tomorrow, but I would rather hear about it from people who have actually had it done. Thanks in advance.

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Posted in Qns & Ans on Jan 2nd, 2011, 3:08 am by plastic_surgery_world   

2 Responses

  1. medicsgtb01
    August 12th, 2009 | 1:04 am

    I have had PRK. Yes, it’s a bit uncomfortable for the first few days after surgery, but not too bad. It takes a while for your vision to clear up completely, but you will notice a difference right after the surgery. You have to use lots of eye drops to get your eyes healed the way they need to be. The good thing about PRK is that they don’t have to make any incisions in your cornea, your eye just gets zapped with a laser from the outside and it burns microns of tissue off of the eye reshaping the cornea and making your eye refract light in a way that you can see clearly. It’s going to take about 6-10 months for you to not see the “halos” around lights and for your vision to clear up best, but it will be worth it. The negative things about the surgery is that you can smell the burning tissue, your eye waters profusely, it’s uncomfortable, and the first few days after your eyes are going to hurt. Other than that, I have 20/15 vision now, which is better than normal and I see great. It was worth it, and I don’t have any complaints.

  2. LasikExpert
    August 13th, 2009 | 3:02 am

    The technical difference between Lasik and PRK is where the laser ablates (removes) corneal tissue. The patient difference is speed of vision recovery and discomfort.

    When the excimer laser was first developed, all laser assisted surgery to reduce the need for corrective lenses was Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK). The process of PRK is to remove the outermost layer of soft cells on the cornea (epithelium), reshape the surface of the cornea with the laser, and then wait for the epithelial cells to regenerate and cover the treatment area. Corneal epithelial cells are the fastest reproducing cells in the human body.

    Early PRK was quite successful and a significant improvement over previous techniques, but it had some problems. Removal of epithelial cells causes a wound response that includes major discomfort and corneal haze if the laser needed to remove a lot of tissue to correct very bad eyesight.

    A very clever eye surgeon realized that if the laser sculpting was done under a flap of corneal tissue and not at the surface, then the wound response would be different. Lasik is actually the combination of two surgical procedures. The first step of Lasik is to create a flap of corneal tissue and move it aside. The second step is to use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea. After ablation, the Lasik flap is repositioned over the treatment area. Lasik “fools” the eye into not knowing it has had surgery, so the wound response is muted. This is why Lasik can have almost instant vision recovery, virtually no pain, and virtually no chance of corneal haze.

    There are a few important limitations to Lasik. One is corneal thickness. At least 250 microns of corneal tissue must remain untouched for a healthy eye to remain stable. The Lasik flap is about 100-160 microns thick, so the laser sculpting is starting that much deeper. Some people don’t have corneas thick enough to accommodate the Lasik flap.

    The other problem with Lasik is the flap itself. Although Lasik flap related complications are relatively rare, they do occur. No Lasik flap means no possibility of a Lasik flap complication. No possibility is always better than a low probability.

    Lasers and surgical techniques have improved over the past decade and the lasers are able to create very nuanced sculpting. Placing 100-160 microns of Lasik flap over a nuanced laser ablation loses some of the nuance. For these reasons, many doctors are returning to PRK as their primary choice for laser eye surgery.

    Newer lasers and operative techniques have all but eliminated the chance of corneal haze with PRK.

    In the long-term, the results from PRK will likely be equal to or slightly better than Lasik. In the short term you may experience discomfort and vision recovery will slower than Lasik. With PRK you can expect to have very poor vision for 1-3 days, “functional fuzzy” vision for about a week, and then vision quality will improve over the next few weeks and months.

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