Laser eye treatment
Types of Laser Eye Treatment
Laser eye treatment has become very popular due to the effectiveness of vision improvement, often eliminating the need for glasses or contacts. There are two basic types of laser eye treatments, Lasik and photorefractive keratotomy (PRK). There are several variations of these types of eye treatments, such as LASEK, which is an improved version of PRK. No matter which type is performed, all laser eye treatments involve the use of eye drops for numbing the eye and are performed while the patient is awake.
PKR Eye Treatments
PKR eye treatments were popularly used in prior years before the development in technology that led to lasik surgery. Although these treatments are still performed today, they are usually only selected when the patient is not a good candidate for other forms of eye surgery. PKR laser eye treatments can often eliminate the need for eyeglasses however, healing times are longer and the success rate is lower when compared to lasik surgery. PKR treatments are done with a technique that gently removes the outer layer of corneal tissue, known as a surface ablation technique. After the surface layer of the cornea has been removed, the stroma is then reshaped giving it the ability of improved focus of light entering the retina. PKR is used for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Most PKR treatments result in near perfect eyesight, without the need for contacts or glasses. The advantages of PRK include the elimination of the risk of ectasia, which can result in gradual vision problems and the elimination of the need of the microkeratome blade that lasik requires. Disadvantages include longer recovery times and discomfort while healing, which involves the regrowth of the outer surface layer of the cornea.
Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) is an advanced form of PRK. This procedure is done by using an alcohol solution to soften the epithelium (outer layer of the cornea), which is then removed. The excimer laser then reshapes the stroma for vision correction and the epithelium is then replaced. LASEK offers a faster healing period compared to PRK and avoids the use of having to use a microkeratome blade for creating a corneal flap.
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (Lasik) eye treatments are performed using a different technique than PRK. Lasik surgery involves creating a flap in the cornea, which is then laid back and with the use of an excimer laser, the deeper portion of the cornea is reshaped for vision correction. The flap is then repositioned. This procedure offers faster vision correction, which can sometimes be immediate as well as faster recovery times. There is often less discomfort associated with lasik than with PRK. Some patients may experience some blurriness for the first 24 hours following the procedure.