LASIK (or “Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis”) is one of the
safest and most effective vision correction procedures. The first cases
were performed in the US in 1989 and now an average of 700,000 cases are
performed annually. It is an outpatient refractive procedure that is
used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and in
certain cases presbyopia.
ophthalmologist Michael Tracy, MD is an expert when it comes to
performing LASIK procedures. He’s successfully treated thousands of
patients, with either LASIK or PRK surgeries.
difference between LASIK and PRK is that LASIK involves creating
a flap in the cornea, whereas PRK involves brushing away the
thin, outermost layer of the cornea (called the epithelium). The
underlying corneal tissue is then treated with the Excimer laser
to reshape the cornea. The new corneal shape is able to better
focus the light entering the eye, allowing the patient to see
more clearly. Typically, LASIK requires about 1-2 days for
initial recovery, and PRK requires about 3-4 days for initial
How Are PRK and LASIK Similar?
Both PRK and LASIK are safe outpatient procedures. Patients must be
age 22 or over to undergo either procedure, and their vision
prescriptions must be stable for at least one year prior to the surgery.
Each procedure involves reshaping the cornea, which improves the
eye’s ability to see clearly because the newly shaped cornea can better
focus the light entering the eye. LASIK and PRK are used to correct
near-sightedness (myopia), far-sightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
After the procedure, patients can begin to notice improved vision as
soon as 24-hours later. It’s normal for the eyes to feel irritated and
to feel like they have something in them while they are healing. Dr.
Tracy will prescribe eye drops and medications to help the eyes heal and
to alleviate pain or discomfort.
How Are PRK & LASIK Different?
LASIK involves creating a circular flap in the cornea with either a
laser (the Intralase femtosecond laser) or a blade (called a
microkeratome), leaving a hinge on one side, which remains attached to
the rest of the cornea. The flap is then pulled back to reveal the
underlying corneal tissue. A second laser (the Excimer laser) is then
used to reshape the cornea. Finally, the flap is placed back on to the
cornea. It takes between 1 and 3 days to heal after LASIK. However,
vision continues to improve and stabilize over the course of the next
PRK involves brushing away the thin, outermost layer
of the cornea (called the epithelium) to expose the corneal tissue
underneath. Then the same laser that is used in LASIK (the Excimer
laser) is used to reshape the cornea. The epithelium grows back
naturally, which usually takes about 3 days. A bandage contact lens is
placed on the eye to help the epithelium heal properly. The bandage
contact lens is removed after the epithelium has healed, at about 4-7
days after the procedure.
|Contact the San Diego LASIK and
Dr. Michael Tracy is a
Board-certified ophthalmologist and an expert in refractive surgery,
such as PRK and LASIK. If you are considering undergoing refractive
surgery, don’t hesitate to call us at (760) 603-9910 to schedule your
free LASIK or PRK consultation.