Laser eye surgery is an effective treatment that is used to treat common refractive eye problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) are the most widely used laser eye procedures that work by reshaping the cornea at the front part of the eye to correct or improve vision.
Laser eye surgery is a common outpatient procedure that is used to treat certain refractive eye conditions. In a normally-shaped eye, the lens and the cornea (the dome shaped transparent part) at the front of the eye have a perfectly smooth and even curvature to refract (bend) incoming light. This helps to produce a focused image directly to the retina at the back of the eye. Refractive eye errors mean the cornea or lens aren’t evenly or smoothly curved, which means light isn’t refracted properly on to the retina, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.
PRK Vs. Lasik Eye Surgery
Both PRK and Lasik eye surgery work to reshape the cornea, so light travelling through the eye is properly focused onto the retina. PRK is a surface treatment compared with Lasik surgery, which requires cutting a thin flap of tissue in the outer part of the cornea, so the underlying tissue can be corrected.
Both types of laser surgery are considered safe and highly effective procedures, and complications are rare. Generally, Lasik has a shorter recovery period than PRK, but PRK may be the preferred option for patients with dry eyes or thin corneas, as well as those who are very physically active (which could cause the corneal flap to move during activity after Lasik).
Laser Eye Surgery – The Procedure
Lasik surgery involves the eye doctor (ophthalmologist) creating a thin flap of tissue in the outer cornea, which is lifted and folded back to allow access to the underlying tissue. A special type of laser is used to precisely remove tiny amounts of tissue to alter the curvature or shape of the cornea, so light is properly focused on to the retina and vision improved. The corneal flap is then folded back into place and left to heal naturally.
During PRK, an excimer laser delivers a cool, pulsing beam of ultraviolet light on to the surface of the cornea to precisely remove tiny pieces of tissue of the cornea to reshape it. Although the surface of the layer of the cornea is removed during the surgery, no cutting is required. Eyesight may be hazy for a short time after surgery as the surface layer begins to grow back.
Expected Recovery From Laser Eye Surgery
In most cases, laser eye surgery only takes a few minutes and is practically painless. The recovery period is quick and requires little down-time, often allowing patients to return to work the following day. The outcome is highly positive in a majority of patients with an impressive 96% success rate in achieving 20/20 visual acuity or better.
Laser Eye Surgery Is Used to Treat Certain Refractive Errors
Although not everyone is a candidate for laser eye surgery, it can often be effective for the following most common refractive errors:
- Myopia (nearsightedness) – where you are able to see close things clearly but objects in the distance appear blurry. It usually occurs when the cornea has too steep a curve or if the eyeball is longer than normal. Myopia is usually inherited and often worsens during childhood and adolescence.
- Hyperopia (farsightedness) – when objects in the distance appear clear but nearby objects appear blurry. It can occur when the cornea is curved too little or if the eyeball is shorter than normal. Hyperopia can also be inherited, but sometimes children outgrow the condition. In advanced cases of hyperopia, vision is blurry at all distances.
- Astigmatism – where the front of the cornea is curved more in one direction than the other. The condition results in blurred or distorted vision, and objects may appear blurry at all distances.
Candidates for Laser Eye Surgery
Those who have been diagnosed with a refractive error may be a candidate for PRK or Lasik laser eye surgery. In addition to this, there are other criteria that typically need to be met, such as good eye health and overall physical health, a stable eye prescription, and being over the age of 18.
If you are considering laser eye surgery, an ophthalmologist can advise you whether you are a good candidate and what you can expect from treatment.
PRK Eye Surgery in Miami, Florida
To learn more about PRK and Lasik eye surgery, or to find out if you are a candidate for surgery, contact The Laser Center of Coral Gables. Our expert providers can evaluate your eye condition and help you decide if a refractive procedure could benefit you. We aim to help improve your vision without the need for glasses or contacts.
Contact The Laser Center of Coral Gables today at (305) 461-0003, or you can reach us through our contact form on our website.