When you think of vision correction surgery, LASIK (Laser-Assisted Stromal In-Situ Keratomileusis) is probably what comes to mind first. While it might be the most common type of surgery, it is far from the only option. In fact, there are several LASIK alternatives available. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is one of those options. This surgery was actually developed before LASIK, and is still used to this day. It might not be as common as LASIK, but it has some great advantages that you should consider!
What Does PRK Treat?
PRK is similar to LASIK in regards to what it treats. It corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and typically offers the same results that you would get with LASIK. If one person gets PRK and another gets LASIK, it would likely be difficult to tell the difference between the two outcomes once the recovery period is over.
How it Differs From LASIK
You might get the same outcome with PRK and LASIK, but the procedures are very different. During LASIK, your Spivack eye surgeon will create a small flap on the cornea. This is done with a laser that allows the surgeon to correct the vision underneath.
During PRK, your eye surgeon will not create a flap. Instead, your eye surgeon will remove the epithelium, which is the thin outer layer of the cornea. While that might sound a little frightening, it grows back on its own within a few days. Once the epithelium is removed, the surgeon uses a laser to reshape the inner corneal tissue. This technique is the same as the one used during LASIK.
You will also notice a difference when it comes to the recovery time. If you have LASIK surgery, you will recover within days. Basically, you will go home, take a nap, and feel great when you wake up. Your eyes might feel a little scratchy, but it is minimal and the effects will not get in the way of your daily activities. You will also need to follow a few post-op rules to ensure proper healing.
It takes a little bit longer to recover from PRK. In this case, you will not fully recover until your epithelium regenerates, which typically takes a few days. During that time, you will likely experience hazy vision and slight discomfort. However, your vision will improve slowly within the first few days, and continue to improve for several weeks.
Benefits of PRK
PRK comes with some benefits that you should consider, as well. The lack of a corneal flap is a big benefit. That means that you do not have to worry about complications related to the corneal flap. In addition, because your surgeon will not remove much of your cornea during the procedure, it should maintain its thickness. Since less cornea is removed, you might be a good candidate, even if your cornea is too thin for LASIK. Simply talk to your Spivack LASIK doctor to find out if you qualify.
While many people go with LASIK, it is still important to examine the LASIK alternatives. The more information that you have, the better equipped you will be when visiting your Denver, CO LASIK surgeon. Contact us to book your consultation today!