When undergoing laser refractive surgery to correct vision problems, be it myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia, various techniques are commonly used as appropriate in each case.
The two most frequently used techniques are LASIK and PRK, and both are performed on an outpatient basis in just a few minutes, offering similar results.
So what differentiates both techniques? When is each of them used? Dr. Cilveti, Head of the Ophthalmology Service of Vithas Xanit International, answers us to these questions:
Difference between LASIK and PRK procedures
Both techniques consist of modeling the shape of the curvature of the cornea by laser in order to correct visual defects. However, the main difference in the procedure between the two techniques is the following:
- In the LASIK technique, before applying the laser to model the cornea, a very thin layer is first separated from its surface (which can be separated by femtosecond laser without cuts, or by a surgical tool called microkeratome) and once said layer is removed, the laser is used to give the cornea the appropriate shape. Finished this, the previously removed outer layer is put back in place.
- In the PRK technique, the epithelium is simply removed, which covers and protects the outside of the cornea, and the laser is then applied directly to model the cornea. Once the procedure is finished, the epithelial cells regenerate in several days, to protect the cornea in the meantime the surgeon places a contact lens that acts as a bandage, which is removed a few days later.
In practice, this difference between both procedures has the result that in the case of LASIK the recovery is faster and the time in which the vision is stabilized is shorter, seeing the final result before, while it is more comfortable for the patient; while with PRK recovery is slower and somewhat more uncomfortable, but it is possible to treat patients with thinner corneas that cannot be treated with LASIK, and as in the PRK procedure no layer of the cornea is separated, with PRK there is no risk that this layer can be separated again causing complications in the future as a result of some strong impact or trauma in an accident.
In which cases is each technique recommended?
As mentioned, recovery is faster, more comfortable and with visible results before using the LASIK procedure, so it is usually the most common option, as long as the patient’s cornea is thick enough and there are no other contraindications.
On the other hand, PRK is the most recommended option in the case of athletes, sportsmen, and other high-risk professions, since with this technique in the case of suffering from eye trauma there is no risk of complications derived from laser eye surgery.
PRK is also an option for those patients with corneas too thin for LASIK.
In any case, the specialist will previously carry out a detailed study of each patient to plan the surgery, indicating what are the possible treatment options and recommending the most appropriate treatment in each case.
Laser eye surgery at Vithas Xanit Internacional
If you are thinking of undergoing laser surgery to correct vision, remember that in the Ophthalmology Unit at Vithas Xanit Internacional you will find the best specialists in the correction, diagnosis and treatment of vision problems, who together with the most effective techniques and the most advanced technology allow us to offer you the best possible results. Contact us for more information or make an appointment.