LASIK is the most well-known vision correction procedure, but it is by no means the only one. Often, it may not even be a viable option for someone looking for permanent vision correction.
That’s because LASIK has rigorous candidacy requirements that you must meet to get it. Fortunately, there are many LASIK alternatives, which are equally successful and safe.
How Does LASIK Work?
To understand how a refractive procedure like LASIK or PRK works, you need to know what causes refractive errors. Light passes through the transparent tissue at the front of your eye, called the cornea.
Your cornea focuses most of this light through your lens, which sits behind the cornea. Your lens then handles further focusing, which ideally shines the light directly on your retina.
But, corneas that are overly round, flat, or misshapen cause the light to come into focus too soon, too late, or to scatter in your eye. This improper focusing is a refractive error, and they all cause blurry vision.
Both LASIK and PRK work by altering the shape of your cornea to correct the error. The modern procedures both use computer-guided lasers for the highest precision.
During LASIK, your surgeon uses a laser to create a flap in the top layer of your cornea. They pull this flap back off the center of your eye to access the corneal layers below it.
The middle layer of the cornea is much thicker, which makes it safer to perform LASIK on. Once this middle layer is accessible, your surgeon uses a second laser to remove bits of tissue from it.
Removing this tissue corrects the shape of your cornea and allows it to focus light onto your retina. After the reshaping, the flap gets laid back down and takes the form of the tissue underneath.
How is PRK Different?
PRK follows the same process as LASIK, with one difference. Instead of creating a flap with the cornea, the top layer of tissue gets wholly removed.
The middle layer still gets sculpted with a laser. But at the end of the procedure, a contact lens bandage covers your eye instead of replacing the flap.
Eye doctors actually used the PRK method before the development of LASIK. But LASIK has become more well-known because the flap makes recovery more straightforward and faster.
Which is Better, LASIK or PRK?
If you are a good candidate for LASIK and PRK, you’ll likely get LASIK because your recovery will be faster. The outer layer of your cornea has to attach to your eye after LASIK instead of regrowing as it does after PRK.
But, there is a reason that PRK is still valid. It is ideal if you would be at a higher risk of flap complications that exist after LASIK.
Both procedures are safe and effective. But only LASIK has the potential for flap complications.
PRK is also particularly useful for people with thin corneas. That’s because the LASIK flap uses precious amounts of corneal tissue.
Are you ready for the visual freedom provided by permanent vision correction? Schedule a LASIK consultation at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX. Find out which procedure is best suited for your vision needs!