LASIK, Laser-In-Situ-Keratomileusis The Intralase (a femtosecond laser) is used to create a corneal flap, exposing the internal layers of the cornea, much like opening a book. The customvue excimer laser then gently reshapes the exposed cornea. When the flap is replaced, the surface assumes the new curvature that is necessary to correct your vision. The flap is stable within minutes and is healed by the next morning. LASIK is an extremely effective outpatient procedure that is suitable for a wide range of prescriptions; nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Each pulse of the laser can remove 39-millionths of an inch of tissue in 12-billionths of a second. This allows remarkable accuracy while maintaining excellent control throughout the procedure.
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) PRK is also a laser vision correction procedure intended to reduce a person’s spectacle dependence by reshaping the surface of your cornea. Unlike LASIK, PRK doesn't require the formation of a corneal flap. For someone with unusually thin corneas, this is a huge advantage since the long-term structural integrity of the eye is not compromised.
During PRK, the thin outer membrane of the cornea, called the epithelium is loosened and removed, exposing the thick central part of the cornea, known as the corneal stroma. The excimer laser then reshapes the anterior stromal surface according to the patient's refractive error. There is no risk of flap dislocation years after the surgery and the cornea’s structural integrity is less altered by PRK, compared to LASIK, in which a flap is created in the anterior layers of the cornea.
For many patients with irregular corneas, emergency medical professionals, individuals in the armed forces, and professional athletes involved in contact sports, PRK is preferred to LASIK for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. The entire process takes just minutes to perform. The epithelium then heals over the exposed surface during the following 5-7 days, during which time the eye can experience varying degrees of irritation. Although vision is typically improved immediately following the procedure, maximum vision recovery can take several weeks.
The PRK post-operative recovery period is longer than LASIK, but this is a relatively small price to pay as visual outcomes are comparable to LASIK without the risks associated with LASIK in some patients. In fact, PRK outcomes are considered so good, that the U.S. Navy has recommended the procedure for naval aviators. In a major PRK study undertaken by the Navy, 95% of pilots and flight crew achieved 20/20 or better, 80% 20/16 or better, and 50% 20/12.5 or better (20/12.5 is far superior to 20/20)! If you are interested in learning more about PRK, or LASIK please call our Vienna, VA office at 703-242- 8200 or our Centerville, VA office (703) 263-3147 and make an appointment for a free consultation with Dr. Nisha Patel or you can email Dr. Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org.