Friday, July 1, 2011

LASIK and PRK Recovery

When most of the general population considers laser eye surgery procedures for refractive correction, LASIK is what comes to mind. LASIK however, is not the only method of refractive corrective surgery. LASIK stands for Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis. During LASIK an incision is made “under” the corneal flap using either a femtosecomd laser or microkeratome. The corneal flap helps to alleviate the amount of discomfort the patient experiences, and recovery time is usually one day, which is the day of the procedure. Photorefractive Keratectomy, otherwise known as PRK is an alternative to LASIK that does not require the generation of a corneal flap. In PRK, the “surface” epithelial layer of the cornea is removed. After removal, the excimer laser is applied to the cornea to reshape the cornea and change eye’s focusing power. The epithelial surface layer regenerates in a few days. Because of the slower epithelial regeneration, patients have a longer recovery period of an estimated 3 to 4 days. The amount of time for the patient to regain their best visual acuity is about four to five days. In contrast, after LASIK surgery, patients report having a visual acuity of 20/20, or even 20/15 within 24 hours of having surgery. PRK patients may have about two weeks of vision fluctuations before obtaining their visual acuities of 20/20 or 20/15. The delayed visual acuity for PRK patients is due to the time of surface regeneration after the surgical procedure. The final outcomes between LASIK and PRK however, are not significantly different. There are many patients who might be better candidates for PRK over LASIK.

Dr. Michelson will help you choose which method best suits your eyes and your needs.

When having refractive surgery evaluation it is important to understand which procedure you qualify for and why. During a consultation at Michelson Laser Vision, the staff and physicians will explain the various procedures and why you may be a candidate for either procedure. To schedule your complimentary consultation to understand the differences with your vision and visual needs, contact our office at 205-969-8100.