CORRECTING YOUR VISION WITH PRK: BACK TO THE FUTURE?
The most common excimer laser procedure to correct vision is called LASIK. In LASIK, a partial thickness flap is made in the cornea, the laser is applied to improve the focus of the eye and then the flap is replaced. For some patients, however, LASIK is not the safest or best way to use the excimer laser to correct their vision
PRK is a procedure which uses the same excimer laser to achieve the same excellent vision and, for some, PRK surgery is safer than LASIK. For example, patients who may not be good candidates for LASIK due to having too strong of an eyeglass prescription or corneas that are too thin may be able to safely have their vision corrected with PRK with the same long-term results as LASIK.
Because PRK surgery avoids making a flap in the cornea, any risks associated with such a flap are eliminated. For people with an extremely active lifestyle, where the potential for trauma to the eyes may be increased, PRK may be an ideal procedure as the lack of a corneal flap leads to increased structural integrity of the cornea following the procedure.
LASIK and PRK achieve the same excellent vision and use the same laser to achieve these results. For most patients, the main difference between the two is how quickly their vision returns after their procedure. One can think of LASIK as the “Ferrari” of laser vision correction in terms of the most rapid return of vision and only minimal irritation of your eyes. PRK is closer to a “tractor”. Both procedures get you to the same place; it’s just a matter of how quickly.
Compared to LASIK, in PRK, the surface layer of corneal cells is removed and then the excimer laser is applied to the cornea to improve the eye’s focus.
The key to determining whether laser vision correction is a good choice and which procedure is the best for you is to be certain that your surgeon is well versed in all of these procedures and is highly experienced, ethical and has an excellent reputation. Be sure to ask the surgeon who will perform your procedure which option is best for your prescription, corneal thickness, and the other unique characteristics of your eyes.
To learn more about PRK, schedule an appointment with the highly-experienced PRK surgeons at Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons.