LASIK (iLASIK), and PRK
LASIK (iLASIK) Surgical Procedure
iLASIK (IntraLase Assisted Laser In-situ Keratomileusis) utilizes a combination of two refractive laser surgery techniques. First, a femto-second laser technology (IntraLase) utilizes ultra-high frequency laser generated tiny overlapping acoustic shock waves to create a thin flap of corneal surface corneal tissue. (The IntraLase has in most practices replaced an older bladed keratome technology for LASIK flap creation because of the IntraLase’s ability to create thinner and more predictable flaps than the older keratome technology). The laser created flap is reflected back to expose the underlying central cornea. Excimer “cool” Laser Technology is then utilized to gently, accurately, and painlessly sculpt the exposed corneal tissue. The sculpting pattern is computer generated to correct precise degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. State of the art iris-tracking and wavefront technologies have markedly improved the safety and accuracy of the procedure over time. After the Excimer Laser reshaping of the cornea, the flap is repositioned and naturally adheres to the underlying treated corneal tissue without the need for stitches or patching.
By virtue of the flap creation in LASIK, the outer surface (epithelium) of the cornea is preserved. Healing is therefore quite rapid. Patients who have LASIK most often achieve excellent visual acuity rapidly; in fact, the majority of patients obtain better driving vision within 24-48 hours of the procedure.Since visual recovery is so rapid, surgery on both eyes can usually be performed on the same day. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are taken post-operatively for a period of a few weeks. Some minimal activity restrictions are required initially after surgery; however most normal daily activities can be resumed the day after surgery.
PRK Surgical Procedure
PRK, like LASIK is a brief outpatient procedure that utilizes the exquisitely precise and safe Excimer Laser to sculpt a vision correcting curvature change to the corneal surface. In contrast to LASIK however, instead of creating a flap, the cornea’s surface cell layer (epithelium) is gently removed from the corneal surface. The epithelial layer is most often regenerated within three to five days after surgery. During PRK, computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light are then applied painlessly to the surface of the cornea to delicately reshape the eye’s curvature.
As with LASIK, the laser process is completed in approximately 30 to 60 seconds. Post-operatively, the eye is covered with a clear “bandage” contact lens which is usually worn for three days, and then removed. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are taken post-operatively for a period of a few weeks. After the PRK procedure, the eye may feel irritation or a foreign body sensation for a few days, but this discomfort is generally managed effectively with topical and/or oral medication if needed.