Laser vision correction offers people the freedom to limit or completely eliminate the use of prescription lenses. LASIK surgery is probably the most well-known of these procedures. LASIK reshapes the inner layers of the cornea to correct imperfections that are responsible for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
As successful as LASIK is, it is not right for all patients. Dr. David Masihdas understands that each of his Salt Lake City, UT, patients has unique needs, so he offers different kinds of laser eye surgery, including LASIK and PRK. Here, patients can learn more about these two procedures, and how Dr. Masihdas determines which is most appropriate for his patients.
LASIK is the laser vision correction procedure that people tend to be the most familiar with. LASIK has earned the reputation of being a refractive surgery that provides fast and effective vision enhancing results.
The LASIK Procedure
During LASIK surgery, a small incision is created on the surface of the cornea. The incision is crescent shaped, so that it creates a small flap that allows eye doctors to lift up the top layer of the cornea and gain access to its underlying tissues. When the flap is lifted, a powerful and precise laser reshapes the inner layer of the cornea to eliminate the imperfections that are responsible for refractive errors.
When necessary corrections have been made, the top layer of the cornea is lowered back in place, where the tissues will heal without stitches. The entire LASIK procedure takes just a few minutes.
LASIK recovery is also fairly quick. Most patients notice an immediate improvement in their vision, and usually obtain maximum visual results within four to six weeks following their procedure.
It is common for patients to experience mild to moderate side effects during LASIK recovery, which may include dry eyes, itchy eyes, sensitivity to light, and glares or halos around light sources. These usually resolve within about a week.
PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is another laser vision procedure that addresses the source of vision impairment to restore clearer eyesight for our Salt Lake City patients. PRK offers results that are comparable to LASIK, but the procedure and its recovery timeline are a little different.
The PRK Procedure
PRK differs from LASIK in that it reshapes the surface of the cornea, rather than its inner layers. Because of this, PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap. Instead of creating a flap, the surgeon completely removes the outermost layer of corneal cells, called the epithelium. With these cells removed, the top layer of the cornea is reshaped to address refractive errors.
After alterations have been made, a contact lens is placed over the eye to act as a bandage while tissues heal. This “bandage” typically remains in place for four to six days.
PRK recovery takes slightly longer than that of LASIK. It can be three to five days before patients notice an improvement in their vision. During this time they are likely to experience side effects like blurry vision, eye pain, and dry or itchy eyes.
Side effects should gradually diminish in the week following surgery, but it can take a few months for the vision to stabilize and for patients to enjoy the full results of their procedure.
Finding The Right Treatment for You
Generally speaking, PRK is recommended when a patient is a poor candidate for LASIK, either because they suffer from dry eyes, or because their cornea is too thin to accommodate the creation of a corneal flap. Other considerations for either procedure include overall eye health, the type and degree of refractive error, and whether the vision prescription is stable.
During your consultation at our Salt Lake City practice, we can determine if LASIK or PRK is more ideal for your needs.
Learn More About Refractive Surgery
Dr. Masihdas would be happy to provide you with more information about the laser vision correction procedures offered at his practice. To learn how these treatments can help you say good-bye to prescription lenses, send us a message online or call our practice at (801) 363-2851.