Today, we start our 2-part series on the most common questions we receive about LASIK surgery. If you have a LASIK question you would like us to answer, we invite you to contact us!
“What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?”
LASIK involves creating a thin flap with a femtosecond laser. The flap is lifted by the surgeon, and an excimer laser reshapes the corneal surface. The flap is then placed in its original position.
PRK is a very similar procedure, but the flap is not created. First, the very outer layer of the cornea called the epithelium is removed exposing the underlying layers. The excimer laser reshapes the corneal surface. Since there is no flap, the cornea is covered with a bandage contact lens.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both procedures. LASIK has become more popular because the recovery is much faster. Patients usually see well the next day and can return to work. After PRK, the eye must heal under the bandage contact lens, and that can take up to 1 week. The vision is usually a little blurry for that period of time and some patients experience mild discomfort during the recovery period. However, patients who are not good LASIK candidates due to thin corneas may still qualify for PRK, because less corneal tissue is removed with PRK.
“Am I too old for LASIK?”
LASIK is FDA approved for patients over 18 years old, although most surgeons prefer to perform the procedure for patients who are over 20 years old and have stable eyeglass prescriptions. There is no upper age limit for LASIK. In fact, some patients undergo LASIK after cataract surgery.
“I have been diagnosed with cataracts, but they are not ready for removal. Can I get LASIK?”
The degree of a cataract can be very wide, starting with mild visually insignificant changes in the color of the natural lens, all the way to completely opaque mature cataract. Patients with visually significant cataracts should not undergo LASIK. Only patients in very early stages of cataract development can consider LASIK.
If the cataract is just a few years from being “ready” for cataract surgery, it is better to not undergo LASIK and wait for the cataract to mature. Refractive cataract surgery can accomplish two things – it replaces a cloudy natural lens with a clear implant, and it also reduces or even eliminates the need for glasses.
Call Us Today to Learn More About LASIK
If you are ready for a new solution to your poor vision, LASIK may be an option for you. We invite you to contact Matossian Eye Associates today to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable LASIK specialists. Our team can help you determine if this cutting-edge treatment is right for you.