PRK and LASIK Eye Surgery in Apex

PRK and LASIK in Apex: Refractive Laser Eye Surgery

Refractive surgery such as PRK or LASIK may improve your vision to the point that you no longer need eyewear to see clearly. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you no longer needed contacts or glasses or if you could at least reduce your dependence on eyewear? These hi-tech laser eye surgery procedures may be the answer to your nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

Clarity Vision is excited to have one of the leading ophthalmologists and LASIK specialists in Apex, Dr. Kerry Hunt, MD. He is experienced in the treatment of glaucoma, cataract surgery and LASIK surgery and is available for consultation by appointment in our Apex office. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hunt to learn more and to see if you are a good candidate for PRK or LASIK eye surgery in Apex.

Refractive Surgery: What is it?

If you are new to the conversation about eye surgery and laser vision correction, it may help to define some of the terminology. Refractive surgery broadly includes surgery to correct refractive errors in the eyes. If you have blurred or distorted vision caused by an inability to focus light properly in the eye, you have a refractive error. Different types of refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. LASIK and PRK are acronyms to describe the two most popular laser refractive surgery techniques in use today.

What is Lasik? 

LASIK is the acronym for "laser in-situ keratomileusis." LASIK basically uses a laser to reshape the cornea to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK is a proven, quick procedure and often yields immediate vision improvement. Millions of patients have gone through this surgery successfully and have been able to leave their glasses and contacts behind.

The procedure itself consists of creating a thin flap from the outer layer of the cornea that is then lifted away while the underlying cornea is reshaped by laser. The procedure is completed in minutes and then the corneal flap is folded back over the eye where it will naturally re-attach.

Intralase and Blade vs Bladeless LASIK

The initial procedure of creating the corneal flap in LASIK surgery may be completed using one of two available methods. A bladeless system, called intralase, uses a femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap. A second method involves the use of a microkeratome, or very thin blade, to cut the thin flap. You will hear these various techniques referred to as blade or bladeless LASIK or sometimes the bladeless intralase system is referred to as "all laser LASIK." One method is not necessarily better than another as there are advantages to each, and the choice may be dependent on the patient. This is easily determined in a pre-op consult with your ophthalmologist.

What is PRK?

PRK is actually a very similar procedure to LASIK and has actually been around longer. The acronym stands for photorefractive keratectomy and is a good choice for mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. It was developed in the '80's and approved for use on patients by the FDA in the 90's. It still involves reshaping the surface of the cornea with a laser, but it doesn't require the corneal flap of the LASIK technique. Essentially the laser is used to remove the cornea's entire epithelial (outer) layer to expose the treatment area (the stromal layer) for reshaping. The reshaped cornea can then focus light on the retina properly to correct the refractive error.

Since a corneal flap is not required, PRK may be a better choice for patients with thinning or damaged corneas or for patients involved in high impact activities or sports. However, PRK also requires a slightly longer healing time. Your doctor will help determine which procedure you are a candidate for.

Does LASIK Hurt?

Prior to your LASIK procdure, your eyes are thoroughly numbed with eye drops.

In the first step of LASIK creating the corneal flap with a laser or microkeratome, you will likely feel some pressure on the eye. But this sensation lasts less than a minute and is not considered painful.

As the numbing eye drops start to wear off after you've returned home, it is common to feel sensitivity to light and watery eyes with slight discomfort for a few hours. If the discomfort is bothersome, over-the-counter pain medication is usually sufficient. However, closing your eyes and taking a long nap is often the best post-operative prescription.

See Clearly with Laser Vision Correction in Apex with PRK or LASIK

Are you contemplating LASIK or PRK to improve your vision? Schedule a consultation for refractive surgery in Apex with Dr. Kerry Hunt and find out what options are available to you. Contact us at Clarity Vision of Apex today.