Am I a candidate for any kind of surgery to get away from glasses and contact lenses?
There are several surgical options for patients who are wanting to get away from wearing glasses or contact lenses. Let’s discuss the two most common procedures today.
LASIK vs PRK – What are they?
LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are elective refractive surgery options that can be used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Both procedures use a femtosecond laser to reshape the front surface of the eye and correct the patient’s prescription. They are also very quick, only lasting approximately 15 minutes for both eyes to be treated. Patients may be tested at their annual eye exams to determine if they are a candidate for LASIK or PRK.
How is LASIK performed?
During LASIK, the laser creates a flap on the front surface of the eye. That flap is then lifted by the surgeon and the underlying tissue is smoothed and dried out. Once the underlying tissue is prepared, another laser is used to custom treat the prescription onto the front surface of the eye. The surgeon then lays the flap back down, and the same procedure is performed on the other eye. Since there is a flap that is laid back down, the patient will be left with a permanent scar on the front surface of their eye that will only be noticed yearly at routine eye exams.
How is PRK performed?
PRK is also a bladeless procedure and is performed using the same femtosecond laser as LASIK and takes approximately the same amount of time, around 15 minutes. During PRK, the doctor removes the front surface of the cornea and smooths and dries the underlying surface. Once the underlying surface is prepared, the doctor will then custom treat the patient’s prescription onto the front surface of the eye using the laser. Once the laser has completed treatment, the doctor places a bandage contact lens on the eye to allow healing and keep the patient comfortable. The same procedure is then done on the other eye.
What is the recovery time for refractive surgery?
Once either procedure is complete, patients are asked to go home and sleep the rest of the day. Patients are then seen for a 1 day follow up, a 3 day follow up, a 1 week follow up and a 1 month follow up. During the first week after the procedure, patients will use an antibiotic eye drop to prevent any eye infection and a steroid and a non-steroid eye drop to help with inflammation. The patient will also use artificial tears frequently to keep the eyes lubricated. During the first week of healing patients must also not wear eye makeup, avoid eye rubbing, and must stay out of water such as swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc.