The improvements which come from the PRK method are slower and more gradual. Surgeons usually opt for the PRK method when treating patients who have larger pupils and thinner corneas. PRK is a highly effective way of addressing problems with both near and farsightedness. In the case of nearsightedness your cornea needs to be flattened and in cases of farsightedness it will require steepening. As opposed to LASIK, in the PRK method doesn’t use any needles and no incisions are required. PRK makes use of a excimer laser and ultraviolet light is used to reshape your cornea to help it curve properly. Once the cornea has been properly shaped, it can then focus light onto the eye and retina properly, which results in clear vision.
LASIK is also highly affective at treating near or farsightedness and astigmatism. The key difference with LASIK requires the use of a microkeratome, a surgical instrument which helps create a corneal flap. A portion of the flap will remain attached to the eye as the remained is lifted up to expose the cornea. The laser then sculpts the cornea and the flap is gently put back into place. The creation of the flap is usually painless and often takes under a minute to complete. Difficulties involving the flap do occur in rare cases but these are highly treatable by lifting or repositioning the flap. Any difficulties in the flap creation may also require further surgery to correct. Patients of the LASIK treatment generally experience less discomfort and get better results when compared to those of PRK.
In the LASIK procedure no stitches are required as the corneal flap will stay in place simply through the natural pressure of your eyes. Eye drop medication is usually used for about a week afterwards and most patients can return to their normal activities within three days. The majority of healing will take place within the first week but it may require up to three months for vision to stabilise fully. Most LASIK patients experience around 5-6 hours of discomfort as the surface layer heals and over the counter pain medication is usually enough to deal with any discomfort.
In the PRK method eye medication is used and clear contact lenses may be placed on each eye in order to help protect against infection. These lenses are usually removed within five days of surgery. The surface layer begins to heal and the entire healing process takes up to four months to stabilise. Throughout the healing period medications are used to promote the healing process and prevent infections. Most PRK patients take pain relief medication for a couple of days following surgery. This is because the majority of pain fibers in the cornea are located on the surface, which the PRK method affects during surgery and throughout the healing process.
Although most eye surgeries are performed safely, as with any surgical procedure there are some risks involved. With the PRK method there is the chance of problems occurring due to an irregular healing response or an infection. Fortunately, these are both highly treatable through use of medications. In the LASIK method, complications can occur when the flap on the front of your eye is folded back during the procedure. This can include swelling, excessive tearing and infections. The outer tissue layer of the cornea is also at risk of growing back in an abnormal way. If the amount of tissue removed was not enough then the results of the vision correction may not be as dramatic as you were expecting. Those who are nearsighted are also at a greater risk of under correction. In order to fix this type of problem, another surgical procedure may be required. In either method, if too much tissue is removed then your vision can become over-corrected although this is much more difficult to fix than under correction. If an uneven amount of tissue is removed from the eye then it may lead to astigmatism. This happens when your eye moves too much during surgery and will require further surgery to correct. Although many patients experience dry eyes for the first few months following surgery, in some cases this can become severe. It’s normal to be prescribed eye drops in order to reduce discomfort but in excessive cases you may require another procedure and may need special plugs for your tear ducts. These can help to keep your eyes moist and prevent severe draining from your eyes. Difficulty seeing at night, glaring, double vision and halos can all occur after the surgery. Whilst eye drops are usually enough to handle these in rare cases more surgery will be required to fix these issues.