Common Laser Eye Operations: LASIK, Custom LASIK, PRK & More

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COMMON LASER EYE OPERATIONS

Difference Between LASIK and PRKAlthough all laser eye operations involve using a laser, LASIK specifically creates a small incision in the cornea so the surgeon can reshape the eye to correct focusing problems. So this form of all-laser LASIK is quite different from other laser eye surgeries, both in terms of what conditions it is used to treat and how it affects the patient. LASIK is the best combination of easy surgery and significant vision improvement for most people, but it is important to know the differences to find the right surgery for your eyes and your condition.

1. LASIK 

LASIK is one of the most popular laser eye operations. The acronym stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis. LASIK surgeons use a laser to make a small incision in the cornea and then flatten, steepen, or make regular the surface of the eye to fix light refraction problems and correct blurry vision. This surgery is especially well-suited for correcting nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism, and roughly 90% of all LASIK patients achieve their desired vision improvement or better. It helps the cornea focus light onto the retina properly. The patient stays awake during the operation, and recovery tends to be quick and painless, with discomfort usually fading in within a few hours after the end of the operation.

2. Custom LASIK 

This is the form of laser eye surgery that we perform at King LASIK. Our surgeon uses wavefront-LASIK technology, the most advanced laser eye technology available, to create a detailed map of the cornea for more personalized and effective vision correction. After the same small incision as performed with regular LASIK, the surgeon uses the data collected by the wavefront computer to plan the surgery and help guide the laser during the operation. It even protects the eye from damage by shutting off the laser if the eye moves during surgery. The added ability to customize the operation and address specific eye issues like smaller aberrations on the cornea also decreases the chances of already uncommon complications.

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3. PRK

Photorefractive keratectomy is a slightly older laser eye operation technique, but it is nearly as common, and treats mild cases of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. After using a solution to help loosen the surface cells of the cornea and gently moving this outer surface aside to expose the cornea, the surgeon reshapes the cornea with a cool, pulsing beam of UV light. Finally, the surgeon places a clear, protective contact lens on the eye to help facilitate healing. While the healing process may take longer than with LASIK,  the ending visual acuity and overall improvement in vision is almost identical in most cases, and PRK can be a more desirable option for some patients who have specific characteristics that make them poor candidates for LASIK.

4. Laser Surgeries for Other Conditions

There are specific laser eye surgeries designed for other, less common eye conditions such as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty for glaucoma and laser cataract surgery (which is similar to LASIK in execution). If you have one of these other conditions outside of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you should look into these specific treatments.

At King LASIK we encourage all of our patients to research available laser eye operations, but more importantly, they should schedule a free consultation to learn if they are a candidate for laser vision correction and custom LASIK. The best surgical procedure will be the designed for your specific eye condition. However, if you are like most people with corrective lenses and have either myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism, you may very well be a prime candidate for custom LASIK eye surgery.

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