LASIK & PRK Surgery

LASIK

male4-senior-eyeglasses.jpgLASIK is a treatment that corrects refractive errors. This eye surgery reshapes the cornea, making clearer vision possible. Refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism hinder a person’s focusing ability of the eye, thus making them dependent on eyeglasses and contact lenses. LASIK provides patients with an alternative. This safe and effective procedure removes a predetermined amount of corneal tissue and reshapes the cornea, which improves the focusing power of the eye and visual acuity. LASIK helps to reduce a patient’s reliance on eyeglasses and contact lenses.

What does the LASIK procedure entail?
Your eye will first be anesthetized with topical eye drops. Then, your surgeon will use a specialized, hand-held laser to create a hinged corneal flap on the outermost surface of the eye, which will reveal the underlying cornea. The surgeon will carefully reshape the cornea using the laser and then replace the flap.

Who are good candidates for LASIK eye surgery?
A good candidate for LASIK should be at least 18 years old, have no change in refraction for at least one year and have realistic expectations for the results of LASIK. If you believe you are a good candidate for LASIK, contact your ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam.

Is LASIK safe?
Provided you are a good candidate, the average success rate for LASIK is 95 percent. Contact your ophthalmologist to see if you are a good candidate.

Is LASIK painful?
The LASIK procedure is near-painless. Usually, patients complain only of a mild discomfort, which can be controlled with medication.

What kind of results can be expected?
Patients should have realistic expectations going into the procedure. While 20/20 vision has been achieved for some patients as a result of LASIK, it is not guaranteed for all patients. Improved vision and reduced dependency on eyeglasses and contacts can be expected, but allow months for vision to completely stabilize.

Are there any risks associated with the LASIK procedure?
Only a small number of patients have reportedly experienced complications as a result of the LASIK eye surgery. Some risks of LASIK may include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Glared vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Loss of visual clarity
  • Irregular astigmatism

Fortunately, with today’s advancements in technology, complications with LASIK are drastically reduced.

How much does LASIK cost?
As the LASIK procedure becomes more increasingly popular, the overall cost has declined. On average, LASIK can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per eye. It is recommended, however, that you not chose your surgeon based on cost, but rather on experience. Normally, insurance companies do not cover the cost of LASIK.

PRK

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser-assisted vision correction procedure that reshapes the cornea. Like other procedures of its type, including LASIK, PRK removes material from the inner layers of the cornea to compensate for myopia, hyperopia and other vision abnormalities. Where these laser procedures differ, typically, is how the outer layers of the cornea is treated. With PRK, the outer layer is completely removed (usually with the assistance of the laser itself) and then the eye is allowed to heal on its own. After the procedure, bandage contact lenses are placed on the eye(s), helping to shield the cornea from infection and foreign material while the outer layers of the cornea heal and reform. Vision is typically obstructed while the outer layer heals, however, and patients occasionally report haziness, spots and other vision problems anywhere from the first few days to several months after the procedure.

Thanks to the evolution of technology, PRK is considered generally as effective as LASIK when comparing vision correction at the six-month mark. Because the outer layer of the cornea is removed, there is a chance of scarring complications with PRK, but this is rare thanks to improved equipment. There is also the possibility of infection, so patients undergoing PRK need to take care to protect their eyes while in their recovery period.