- Vision & Eye Care
LASIK VS PRK Eye Corrective Surgery
By 2011, more than 16 million Americans have had vision correction procedures and 4 million LASIK surgeries were performed last year. This technology has improved steadily over the past several years, and it has been performed for over 35 years. It is one of the most common surgeries performed around the world. This surgery eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses in over 95% of the cases.
The first type of refractive surgery for vision correction was PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), and it is still being performed today. This surgery requires the cornea (epithelial layer) to be removed in order to expose the area to be treated with a laser. The initial recovery for this surgery is slower as the epithelial cells must regenerate, but the final results are excellent after a few weeks.
Since there is no corneal flap created as there is in LASIK surgery, the entire stoma is available for treatment, which is important for someone who has had previous LASIK surgery or if their cornea is too thin for LASIK surgery. There is a slightly higher risk of infection with this procedure, however, the procedure requires less depth with the laser.
The surgical instrument used for the surgery is an excimer laser. The laser light can then focus properly on the retina to correct the vision, which is located in the back of the eye. This procedure allows light to focus properly on the retina, which corrects the vision. In the video below, it is possible to see the laser light pulsating on the retina until the correction is completed.
PRK Surgery VS LASIK
The primary difference between PRK and LASIK is the thin, hinged cornea flap created by the laser. There is very little discomfort with LASIK surgery, and it only takes 24 hours following the procedure to enjoy the full correction of the vision in over 90% of the cases. The procedure is considered to be safe by the U.S. military and by NASA. Many pilots have had this procedure to achieve the required 20-20 vision required for flying.
Topical anesthesia numbs the eye to begin the surgery. The surgery does not require the use of any type of blade as the laser makes the necessary corneal flap. Once the flap is made, the vision is corrected by a laser. The current laser being utilized for this technology is in its fifth generation as technology has constantly improved.
In addition to correcting vision, this surgery is also able to correct astigmatisms.
Laser Eye Surgery
Improvements in Technology
Some of the problems with the earlier surgery have been improved due to the more sophisticated technology. For instance, impaired night vision is no longer a problem. Some of the other side effects experienced with the earlier surgeries included seeing halos, glares or star bursting of lights at night. These side effects do not occur with the new LASIK surgery.
This surgery is considered to be very safe for older adults, and the average age of patients seeking the surgery is 39 years of age. Patients are carefully screened prior to the surgery to make sure they are appropriate candidates.
LASIK - Average Cost
The cost of LASIK surgery varies between various physicians, however, rates are often quoted per eye. If you are having both eyes done, which is the more common scenario, the average cost for wavefront-guided LASIK is approximately $2000 per eye. LASIK surgery with the blade created flap averages approximately $1600 per eye. Again, prices vary widely between physicians in different areas of the country. It is important to verify the physician’s reputation before proceeding with any surgery. Some healthcare insurance companies will cover part of the cost or offer a percentage discount.
My Lasik Eye Surgery
Eye Correction Benefits
The benefits of perfect vision versus the continued expense and hassle of contacts or eye glasses make the procedure well worth it for many people. There is little discomfort, no bandages, no stitches and the vision correction is immediate.
© 2013 Pamela Oglesby