LASIK or PRK-Choosing the Right Laser Eye Surgery for You
Moving forward with laser eye surgery is an investment in the future and the quality of your vision you will not regret. Whether it’s LASIK or PRK, choosing the right laser eye surgery for you will depend on how you view the pros and cons of each as well as if your unique needs qualify or eliminate you from other options. Both procedures aim to correct the refractive errors of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea using the same laser technology. The cornea is the clear, outer layer of the eye made up of tough, transparent tissue. It covers the pupil, the iris and the fluid that fills the inside of the eye. The cornea’s main function is to refract or bend light that focuses on the back part of the eye, the retina, to relay the images you see to the brain. When the cornea is misshapen, either prescription lenses or laser eye surgery are needed to correct its shape in order to see clearly.
The primary difference between LASIK and PRK involves how the surgeon gains access to the corneal lens before the excimer laser does the reshaping. In LASIK, the surgeon creates a corneal flap to expose the inner cornea, also called stroma. In PRK, the surgeon removes the surface cells of the cornea, also called epithelium. For LASIK, the flap then covers the cornea as it heals while the epithelium regrows after surgery. LASIK recovery therefore takes less time as the regrowing of the epithelium in PRK causes some discomfort that can take weeks to heal while any discomfort from LASIK only lasts a day or so. If you meet the requirements for LASIK, it is likely you’ll choose this option due to the almost instant results and quicker recovery time. PRK is better suited for patients who do not meet LASIK requirements, specifically due to thin corneas (corneal thickness is the main requirement for LASIK due to the creation of the flap) and extreme dry eye. Another consideration is the patient’s level of physical activity or potential for eye trauma as the flap could become dislodged even years after surgery.
Both LASIK and PRK are considered safe, low-risk procedures that significantly improve quality of vision. For more personalized information on which procedure will work best for you, call The Eye Clinic Surgicenter at 406-252-6608 for a consultation. For more education on laser eye surgery options and services offered, visit WEBSITE.