Prior to the introduction of LASIK, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was the most popular form of refractive eye surgery. It was used successfully for many years to treat nearsightedness, farsightednesss, and astigmatism. Although it is still performed regularly, because LASIK is less invasive, it has now surpassed PRK as the most common form of eye surgery. However, in some instances, PRK has several advantages over LASIK as a preferred choice.
The Treatment of Choice in Certain Situations
Although LASIK offers faster healing, faster visual recovery time and less discomfort, PRK (also known as Epi-LASIK) is the treatment of choice for some patients. These can include:
- Patients with thin corneas or corneas that are irregularly shaped.
- Patients that are routinely exposed to extreme trauma, such as boxers or other athletes that take hard knocks in the course of their seasons.
- Patients with very large pupils.
- Patients with certain types of corneal dystrophies.
- Patients that have had radial keratotomy, retinal tears, or glaucoma surgery.
- Patients who have a thin cornea that means it is not available for a LASIK procedure.
- Patients who have already undergone a LASIK procedure and have been left with a thinner residual cornea.
Patients with corneal measurements that are at an elevated risk of having a problem with a LASIK flap. In PRK, there is no flap because the surface is removed completely. It is removed and discarded, and the epithelium repairs itself by growing back over the corneal surface within a few days after surgery. Because the surface is removed, there is also an increased chance for eye infection and a patient’s vision may be hazy for a couple of days.
Boulder Eyes serves patients in Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder and other nearby Colorado communities.