Some patients may be given the option of having either Bladeless LASIK or PRK and could have a difficult time deciding which one might be the best choice. Here is some information that may be helpful as patients go through the decision making process.
In terms of the actual vision correction outcomes, both PRK and LASIK produce almost identical visual results. However, there are some slight and other not so slight differences between LASIK and PRK.
There are some studies that show that patients who have LASIK may have very slightly reduced contrast sensitivity in dim illumination. If one uses extremely sensitive clinical measuring methods they can sometimes find a slight reduction in “low contrast” vision such as driving at dusk or in rainy conditions. Often it is so slight that the patient doesn’t even notice it as they navigate their daily routine. This really is a limited problem for most patients.
The real differences between PRK and LASIK are based on the fact that PRK is a “surface treatment” and LASIK is a “lamellar treatment”. That is, PRK is performed on the surface of the cornea whereas LASIK is performed between the layers of the cornea. To perform Bladeless LASIK Dr. Confino first creates a “layer” or a “flap” using the femtosecond laser for greatest precision and accuracy. He then carefully folds back the “flap” and applies the excimer laser to reshape the cornea to give the right prescription for your vision correction. Then he replaces the “flap” into its original position where it “sticks” without the need for stitches or sutures. So it is really a 3-step procedure. To perform a PRK is a single step procedure, just applying the laser. Whenever you have a multi step eye surgery procedure this is always a greater risk of complications and side effects. However the risks, side effects and complications of LASIK are relatively few and minor if you are selected as a good candidate and under the care of Dr. Confino. So, PRK does offer a safer risk profile because it is a single step procedure.
One of the not so subtle differences is that because LASIK is a lamellar procedure, LASIK Surgery does not disturb the surface of the cornea during treatment. This provides patients with a much faster visual recovery and significantly less discomfort than PRK. This is why from a consumer perspective patients prefer LASIK over PRK. They can get back to pretty much normal activities within a couple of days without any real pain-just some mild discomfort-and with good vision. Most LASIK patients are able to pass a drivers test with 24-48 hours of their laser treatment. PRK patients often experience moderate discomfort that can last a few days and depending on the degree of their prescription can take a week or so to achieve good functional comfortable vision.
The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination, and consultation with Dr. Confino who is a Corneal Surgeon and LASIK specialist. Please feel free to contact us schedule an appointment by calling The Eye Care & Surgery Center Toll Free at 800-504-1083.