PRK, LASEK, Epi-LASIK and “Soft Brush” Epi-LASEK
These are all variations of surface ablation procedures using the excimer laser to reshape the surface of the cornea, rather than the interior, as in LASIK (no microkeratome or potential flap complications). PRK was the first FDA-approved procedure changing the curvature of the cornea with the excimer laser. The initial PRK procedures date back to 1990.
PRK, LASEK, and Epi-LASIK use the same excimer laser as LASIK and the same Wavefront diagnostic data. With PRK, your LaserVue surgeon will first remove the very top layer of the cornea (epithelium). The excimer laser is then used to reshape the surface of the cornea and the epithelium is allowed to grow back in naturally. With LASEK and Epi-LASEK, the epithelium is moved aside, and then replaced back after surgery.
Prior to LASIK, PRK surgery was the most commonly performed laser vision correction procedure. PRK differs from LASIK, in that the surgeon does not create a flap (thus eliminates any chance of a LASIK flap problem). PRK surgery is best suited for patients with thinner corneas, or with vocational or sports-related limitations where a corneal flap is contraindicated.
What Is Custom PRK?
Custom PRK surgery is a procedure that allows your surgeon to customize the conventional PRK procedure to your individual eyes. Custom PRK provides an additional level of data about your visual system using wavefront technology.
- The wavefront analyzer’s software performs complicated measurements and presents a visual representation of how light is bent by your eye for the surgeon to evaluate.
- Data from this process is transferred to the laser, which generates a treatment plan for your refractive error including both low and higher-order aberrations (visual imperfections).
- Treating a patient with the information taken from the wavefront analyzer can result in greater clarity of vision and fewer complaints of glare or night halos.
Our doctor’s will help you determine if you could benefit from the higher level of individualization that Custom PRK surgery may provide.
The PRK laser vision correction process is completed in approximately five minutes. Upon completion, Dr. Bansal places a clear bandage contact lens on the cornea to protect it for approximately 5-7 days. Since a layer about as thin as a human hair is typically removed, the cornea should maintain its original strength.
What to Expect with PRK
- PRK healing is slower and results in discomfort and compromised vision during the first week of the healing process
- Patients are seen frequently following the procedure until the surface layer heals into place
- Patients do not typically see well enough to drive during this healing period
Both PRK and LASIK have proven to be effective methods for laser vision correction.
While the initial recovery is usually slower with PRK compared to LASIK, the final vision result is typically the same with either method.
PRK may be the treatment of choice for certain clinical situations, such as:
- Patients with thin corneas or irregularly shaped corneas
- Patients predisposed to extreme trauma (i.e. boxer)
- Patients with certain corneal dystrophies
- Patients with very large pupils
- Patients that have had prior radial keratotomy, LASIK, retinal tears or glaucoma surgery
- Any patient who just doesn’t want a LASIK flap!
After surface procedures
Patients usually feel some discomfort and experience blurred vision for three to five days after the procedure as the surface layer heals. Most patients resume normal activities within a few days. Additionally, patients are normally placed on a regimen of steroid eye drops for a two-to-four-month period, requiring monitoring by their doctor. Although it can take a few weeks to a few months for patients to fully reach their optimal vision, outcomes for San Jose / Walnut Creek LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and Epi-LASIK are similar.
There are some medical conditions that may make surface ablation procedures more suitable than LASIK. LaserVue doctors will evaluate and determine which procedure is best for you. We will inform you of the benefits and risks of each procedure, and wish to answer all of your questions to your satisfaction.
Please call 1.800.LASER.45 (1.800.527.3745) to schedule a free LASIK Vision Correction or cataract consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK Vision Correction or other refractive surgery treatment.
Try our LASIK self-evaluation to see if LASIK might be a good option for you before visiting one of our 4 locations.
Our facilities are located in San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek, and Santa Rosa at:
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Mountain View, CA 94040
San Francisco, CA 94109
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
See our testimonials to hear the experiences of some of our happy patients.