Laser Eye Surgery is an umbrella term, and encompasses different types of procedures tailored to the needs of each patient.
LASIK surgery is the most widely used these days, but may not suit everyone. For patients who have very thin corneas, PRK or Photorefractive Keratectomy, or Surface Treatment (PRK/EK) is an excellent alternative. This treatment is also known as LASEK.
This surgery is carried out on the inner tissue of the cornea, rather than on the outside bit as happens in LASIK. They sound similar so it can be a little confusing!
PRK was very common before LASIK was developed, but nowadays is often chosen by surgeons for patients with thin corneas. It’s more gradual in terms of showing improvement but equally effective.
PRK was actually invented back in the 1980s, and is now done with an Eximer laser, using cool an ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove (or ‘ablate’) tiny little bits of tissue from the cornea.
This reshaping helps the cornea focus light into the eye and onto the retina, providing clearer vision. In the case of a nearsighted patient, the aim is to flatten out the part of the cornea that is too steep; for far-sighted patients a steeper cornea is the goal. Smoothing out the cornea will help patients with astigmatism.
At Optilase, you’ll have a thorough consultation and examination to determine exactly what kind of vision correction you need and how much laser ablation is required. An instrument measures the curvature of the front of your eye, creating a kind of ‘eye map’. Any irregularities of your cornea can then be addressed properly.
You’ll be awake during the whole procedure and your eyes will be anesthetized with special drops. To help keep your eyes open, a retainer is placed under your lids, while the surgeon adjusts the laser for your prescription and then painlessly removes the tissue with pulses of laser on your cornea.
Most people have one eye done first; then go back after a short recovery to have the second one done.