Refractive errors that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism tend to change over time, resulting in changing vision prescriptions. However, at a certain point, a person’s vision should stabilize. Once patients have had the same vision prescription for a year or more, they can begin considering more permanent treatment options, such as laser vision correction.
One of the most well-known of these procedures is LASIK. LASIK changes the shape of the cornea to improve a person’s vision and reduce or eliminate the need for prescription lenses. Although not as well known, PRK is another effective laser vision correction technique.
The experienced team of eye doctors at Primary Eye Care Associates are happy to discuss LASIK vs. PRK with our Chicago, IL patients to help them choose a treatment option that is best-suited to their unique needs.
Although LASIK is a relatively new technique in the field of vision correction, it has quickly proven to be popular and effective. During a LASIK procedure, a blade or laser is used to create a flap in the top layer of the patient’s cornea. This flap is lifted and folded back to grant access to the underlying tissues of the cornea.
Once the underlying cornea is exposed, an excimer laser is used to reshape the tissues to eliminate the imperfections that cause refractive errors.
Each procedure is personalized to address the unique needs of each patient. After necessary adjustments have been made, the corneal flap is lowered back over the eye.
The entire LASIK procedure is completed in a matter of minutes. Although it takes several weeks for the eyes to completely heal, most patients notice an immediate improvement in their vision.
Some of the greatest benefits of LASIK include:
- Fast treatment
- Short recovery period
- Minimal side effects
- Over 90 percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better
PRK is similar to LASIK in that it uses an excimer laser to reshape the tissues of the cornea to correct the irregularities that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, the primary difference between LASIK and PRK is that PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap.
Instead, during a PRK procedure, the outer layer of the cornea, also known as the epithelial layer, is completely removed. This exposes the underlying layers of the cornea so that appropriate alterations can be made.
As with LASIK, each PRK procedure is customized to meet the unique needs of each patient. After treatment is complete, a special contact lens will be placed over the eye. This lens protects the eye as it heals from the PRK procedure.
PRK recovery is slightly longer than that of LASIK, but this technique does offer patients the following benefits:
- Short and safe treatment
- Ideal for patients who are not good candidates for LAIK due to thin corneas
- Over 90 percent of patients achieve 20/40 vision or better
Both LASIK and PRK are safe, effective laser vision correction techniques. Determining which procedure is best for patients really depends on their unique needs and desires. To learn more about these procedures and which may be right for you, contact us at your earliest convenience. You can call our office at (773) 492-6041 to set up a personal consultation with one of the experienced eye doctors at Primary Eye Care Associates.