PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), also known as ASA (Advanced Surface Ablation), is an excellent LASIK alternative for many who are considering vision correction. This procedure is an especially good option for people who have been previously advised that their eyes are not suitable for LASIK, or whose lifestyles may have precluded them from having LASIK.
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Patients who are often recommended for PRK/ASA are those who:
- Have a thinner cornea than what is advised for LASIK
- Are prone to dryness of the eyes
Are involved in high contact sports and more likely to take a hit to the eyes
1. Numbing drops applied
2. Superficial layer scraping
3. Laser sculpting
4. Corneal surface heals; in myopes the cornea is made flatter.
Benefits of PRK/ASA
- Preserves the Structural Integrity of the Cornea: In an Advanced Surface Treatment, the laser correction is performed on the surface of the cornea rather than a deeper layer.
- Puts Patients at less risk of Corneal Complications: Patients are at less risk of experiencing corneal injuries than with LASIK. Blunt trauma to the eye can cause a dislodged flap in some cases even years after the LASIK procedure.
- Better for Patients with Thin Corneas: Working on the surface of the cornea also allows treatment of patients whose corneas are too thin for the creation of a LASIK flap and removal of tissue by the excimer laser.
- Less Likely to Induce or Worsen Dry Eye: PRK/ASA is gentler on corneal nerves and thus diminishes the possibility of inducing or worsening dry eye syndrome.
A person who had PRK/ASA can expect to see every bit as well as a LASIK patient in the long run. The initial healing, however, is much slower. Patients are often recommended to have one eye done at a time. The doctor may recommend waiting anywhere between a week to a month between eyes. Having one eye done at a time will help patients to remain functional throughout healing. The patient who has one eye done at a time will need to make arrangements to have their glasses or adjusted, or to wear a contact lens in between procedures.
In most cases, a PRK/ASA patient will wear a contact lens during the first 5-8 days of healing. The patient, in most cases, will not need to touch the lens at all. The doctor will handle putting the lens in and taking the lens out.