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Lasik and PRK are both outpatient procedures that take approximately 5-15 minutes per eye to complete.
Most patients find the procedure to be slightly uncomfortable. One good way to learn more about how it might feel is to talk to someone who has had the procedure, such as a friend or relative, or a staff member at The Laser Center of Central Pennsylvania. For most patients, the feeling of anxiety and fear of the unknown is worse than the actual procedure. Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye just before surgery begins and you may be given a mild sedative. After your procedure, your eye may feel irritation for a few hours, but most patients are quite comfortable after taking a short nap.
Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea; since LASIK treats your cornea, it’s important to allow time for your cornea to return to its normal curvature by not wearing contact lenses prior to your preoperative exam and your procedure. Your doctor will instruct you on how long to discontinue using your contact lenses.
On the day of your procedure, you should arrive at the center as rested and relaxed as possible. It’s natural to feel a mixture of eager anticipation and nervousness before your procedure. The day of your procedure, we encourage you to eat and take current medications as normal, however, you should avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness. Wear comfortable clothing, but do not use creams, lotions, makeup, perfume, hair spray or earrings. If you have false eyelashes or eyelash extensions, they should be removed completely before your procedure.
Be sure to bring someone to drive you home, or make other arrangements for transportation. You should allow approximately two hours for the entire process.
Most LASIK patients usually see quite well the day following their procedure and may be able to resume most of their normal daily activities, but patients with higher prescriptions may recover more slowly. Although the speed of visual recovery depends on personal healing patterns, most patients notice dramatic visual results within the first few days following their procedure.
Like any surgical procedure, vision correction surgery is associated with potential risks and complications however; the chance of having a vision reducing complication has been documented in a number of clinical studies to be minimal.
Some potential complications include conditions such as dryness, complications in making the surgical flap, night glare, under or over-correction, and loss of best-corrected vision. At The Laser Center of Central Pennsylvania, these and other risks of the surgery are discussed fully with the patient prior to the procedure. Proper preoperative screening ensures that we proceed with the procedure only when it is medically advisable. As well, diligent post-operative care helps to identify and address any potential healing complications.
Custom LASIK uses a tool called the Wavefront Analyzer to accurately measure the way light travels through your eye. The resulting map of your eye is then programmed into the laser, and the laser treats your eye based upon that personalized 3D map. Custom LASIK helps to treat “higher order” aberrations, which are tiny imperfections in the eye that can have a significant impact on one’s quality of vision. In fact, higher order aberrations have been linked to visual glare and halos. Higher order aberrations have not been previously treatable with contacts, glasses or Conventional LASIK. Conventional LASIK is still a very good choice for many patients, though most will prefer the higher level of customization that custom LASIK can provide. Ultimately, you need to discuss the options with your doctor.
The actual LASIK procedure is performed in exactly the same way for both. The Wavefront Analyzer used with Custom LASIK brings a whole new level of knowledge and accuracy to the surgeon.
Vision benefits vary from one health insurance plan to the next. The Laser Center of Central Pennsylvania is not contracted with any insurance provider, however; some plans may offer a reimbursement for your surgery. For more information on LASIK coverage, contact your insurance provider directly or speak to our LASIK Coordinator.
When you can return to work after LASIK will depend on several factors such as the type of refractive surgery and the type of work you do. Although many refractive surgery patients are back to work the next day, others may need additional time for recovery. Since every person is different and every situation is unique, it will be necessary to discuss with your doctor or surgery consultant the probable recovery period and when you can plan to return to work.
Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK, is an elective, outpatient procedure to improve vision and reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. In the PRK procedure, the surgeon utilizes the excimer laser to reshape the curvature of the eye for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Prior to LASIK, PRK was the most commonly performed laser vision correction procedure. PRK differs from LASIK as no flap is created during the PRK procedure. PRK may be suitable for people with larger pupils or thin corneas.
A laser is an instrument that can produce and control a powerful beam of light. Laser light can be directed and controlled more precisely than normal light, and it can be delivered in extremely brief, intense pulses.
The excimer laser produces a beam of ultraviolet light in pulses that last only a few billionths of a second. Each pulse removes a microscopic amount of tissue by evaporating it, producing very little heat and usually leaving underlying tissue almost the same as pretreatment.
Before the procedure, an extremely detailed map of the surface of your eyes is created and then used by your surgeon in developing your treatment plan.
To accomplish the reshaping, the surgeon first removes the protective surface layer (epithelium) from the cornea. The epithelium is regenerated within three to five days. Your surgeon will then smooth the area and proceed with applying the computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light to reshape the curvature of the eye. Deeper cell layers remain virtually untouched.
The PRK laser process is completed in approximately 30 to 60 seconds and immediately afterwards, a clear “bandage” contact lens is placed on the cornea to protect it. Additional eye drops are applied. The bandage lens is usually worn for 4-5 days, then removed by your doctor.
The whole PRK procedure itself is usually completed in less than 15 minutes. Since a layer about as slender as a human hair is typically removed, the cornea should maintain its original strength.
Your vision will slowly improve over a period of 5 to 6 days. You can wear makeup and return to all your normal activities 48 hours after the bandage contact lens has been removed. Wait two full weeks before swimming, exercising, gardening, or related activities
Your focus will vary throughout the day and it will take several seconds for objects to become clear. Your depth perception will be off for 7 to 10 days, so take special care.
Finally, it is important to remember that everyone heals at their own pace, so please have patience. Your progress will be monitored at regular scheduled visits and management will be decided accordingly.
The insurance coverage, return to work time frames, and risks for PRK are similar to that of LASIK.
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