Lasik and PRK are two of many types of refractive eye surgeries that improve refractive errors like astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia. Both surgeries are considered safe and have high success rates, but there are a few differences in the procedures and necessary recovery time that are important to keep in mind when deciding which technique is right for you.
During the procedure, anesthetic eye drops are applied to the eye. After the numbing takes hold, your LASIK surgeon places a device to keep your eye still and open. With your eyes prepped, a protective flap is created to access the inner corneal tissue. During this part of the procedure, your vision dims and becomes blurry for about a minute. After the flap is created you are able to see the flashing fixation light of the laser and the bright lights used for the procedure. Next, the inner layers of your cornea receive computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light. Although the laser light is invisible, the laser makes a clicking sound as it gently reshapes the inner corneal layer to improve and, in many cases, eliminate your prescription. During this part of the procedure, an eye-tracking device tracks your eye movements to ensure precise correction. Following the re-shaping of the tissue, the LASIK surgeon carefully repositions and aligns the flap to its original position. Protective shields are placed over your eye to prevent accidental rubbing as the flap heals naturally and securely over the next several hours.
During Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) anesthetic drops are installed. Once the anesthesia takes hold, an instrument to prevent your eyes from blinking is used. Your surgeon then will remove the protective surface layer (epithelium) and use the excimer laser, programmed with your exact prescription, to correct your refractive error. A soft contact lens bandage will be placed to protect the corneal and allow the epithelium layer to heal. The epithelium layer will regrow within five days after the procedure. This step eliminates the need to create a flap. PRK surgery is best suited for patients with thinner corneas, or with vocational or sport-related limitations where the corneal flap is contraindicated. The recovery period is a little longer with PRK than with LASIK.
After PRK, your surgeon will insert a contact lens bandage over your eye for a few days while the new outer layer of the cornea regrows. Vision improvement is seen as early as one week. LASIK recovery is typically shorter due to the intact corneal flap created. Most patients experience vision improvement within the first 48 hours. UV protection sunglasses after each procedure is highly recommended for protection and comfort. Eyedrops will be prescribed to prevent infection and improve healing.
If you would like vision correction surgery, then talk to your eye care specialist at Advanced Eye Surgeons. We can help to recommend the best procedure for you to get restored vision. Schedule a consultation today online or call 561-931-2655.