LASIK and PRK
LASIK Surgery & PRK Surgery
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) are outpatient surgical procedures designed to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Both of these procedures have been performed successfully and safely since the 1990’s, with the sole purpose of reducing or eliminating one’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses. With LASIK an ophthalmologist utilizes a laser or specialized blade to create a thin flap in the ocular surface (cornea). Next, laser pulses are applied under the flap to reshape the cornea to improve the way it focuses images onto the retina in the back of the eye. The same effect can be achieved with PRK, except that the laser pulses are applied directly to the surface of the cornea without first creating a flap. All procedures are done under topical anesthesia with no eye patches and no sutures.
Things to consider:
There are many factors that can determine what type of refractive laser surgery is best for you. For example, the severity of your eyeglass prescription, pupil size, corneal thickness, and medical/ocular history all play an important role in determining whether LASIK or PRK is the best choice for you. An in-depth examination and Lasik consultation is critical to help you make the best choice of surgical procedure and to provide you with realistic expectations that are based on facts rather than on hopes or misconceptions.
Refractive Surgery Experience at Rockland Eye Physicians and Surgeons:
To ensure accuracy, all individuals interested in laser vision correction are asked to refrain from wearing contact lenses for at least 2-3 weeks before undergoing an extensive pre-surgical consultation. Dr. Chen, a LASIK/PRK fellowship-trained surgeon who has performed over a thousand procedures to date, performs a 1-hour in-depth examination and evaluation. Unlike some offices where LASIK / PRK surgeons have only received a 1 week training course prior to their certifications, Dr. Chen is specifically fellowship-trained, and dedicated an entire year to mastering the intricacies in performing LASIK/PRK as well as avoiding its complications. Once an individual is approved and decides to proceed, their surgery is performed locally using the latest generation Excimer laser equipped with both wavefront-guided and auto-eye tracking technologies. Post-operative follow-up appointments are then made at 1 day, 1 to 2 weeks, 1 month, and 3 to 6 months after surgery. To ensure that no future complications develop from the refractive surgery, all surgical patients are advised to be seen on an annual basis for their comprehensive eye exam by the same refractive surgeon. Unlike other LASIK-only centers, refractive surgery patients at Rockland Eye Physicians are given continuity of care with the same eye physician and surgeon.
Can LASIK or PRK help me get rid of reading glasses?
LASIK and PRK can only correct distance vision defects due to nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. They do not correct reading vision problems due to age (presbyopia). As a result, almost every LASIK/PRK patient over the age of 45-50 years old will need to wear reading glasses due to their age.
My eyeglasses prescription is strong. How much can LASIK or PRK correct my high prescription safely?
For individuals who are nearsighted, a safe range for correction is generally under -8.50 diopters on your glasses prescription. For individuals who are farsighted, a safe range is generally under +3.00 diopters on your glasses. For individuals with astigmatism, approximately up to 3.5 diopters can be corrected under certain conditions.
Are there certain conditions when LASIK or PRK should not be performed?
Individuals with certain corneal diseases (i.e. corneal scarring/herpetic corneal infections) or corneal dystrophies (i.e. Keratoconus/Fuchs Dystrophy) cannot have LASIK or PRK. In addition, patients with uncontrolled diabetes, significant glaucoma, cataracts, certain types of retinal disease, migraine headaches on Imitrex, acne medications, and significant connective tissue/autoimmune disorders should not have the procedure. Women who are pregnant, who have stopped nursing for less than 6 months, or who are planning to become pregnant within 6 months should consider postponing their LASIK or PRK procedures during these times.
How successful is LASIK or PRK? How long do the results last?
On a national average, having a successful outcome from LASIK or PRK on the first attempt is around 85-90%. There is a 90% success rate for patients undergoing a "re-treatment" or "touch-up" procedure on the second attempt. Up to date, over 95% of all LASIK/PRK patients at Rockland Eye Physicians and Surgeons have achieved successful outcomes on their first attempt. In addition, all patients at Rockland Eye Physicians and Surgeons have had a 100% successful outcome on their re-treatment or touch-up procedure. These successful results from both procedures have lasted on an average of over 8 years per individual.
What are the risks of LASIK or PRK? What can be done if I get a complication from my LASIK or PRK procedure?
Like any minor or major surgical procedure, there are always risks, which will be reviewed in detail with by your surgeon. However, the likelihood of these risks is quite rare. Furthermore, both LASIK and PRK have undergone an "evolutionary" change over the past decade in terms of better equipment, technology, and medications, resulting in better outcomes with fewer risks. Even in the unlikely event that a complication does occur, a large majority of these cases can still be corrected with recent advancements in technology.
How long does the entire LASIK or PRK procedure take? Am I put to sleep during the procedure?
The entire surgical procedure takes 10-15 minutes per eye. Although no sedatives are used, patients are surprised how easy and comfortable their experiences are during the procedure.
Is there any pain or discomfort during the LASIK or PRK procedure? Are there any medications I need to take after the procedure?
There is no pain during the LASIK or PRK procedure due to anesthetic drops being instilled prior to the procedure. Most patients report no discomfort except for a mild pressure sensation lasting less than 30 seconds during LASIK. Post-operatively, most individuals are comfortable with a slight irritation similar to having "an eyelash in the eye." Tearing and light sensitivity are common only for a few hours after surgery. All symptoms resolve quickly with the use of both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops after surgery.
How soon can I function or work after my LASIK or PRK procedure? Are there any restrictions after my procedure?
Almost all LASIK patients are able to see well enough to drive without glasses the day after surgery. Patients who have PRK may need 2-5 days recovery time to see well enough to drive without glasses depending on the individual. All patients are able to work approximately 2-5 days after surgery depending upon which refractive surgery procedure they received. The only restrictions after having your LASIK/PRK are no swimming for 2 weeks and no scuba diving or mountain climbing for 1 month after surgery. Patients are able to wear eye makeup, travel, exercise, and have their hair colored as early as 2 days after the surgery.
How much does LASIK or PRK cost? Will my medical insurance pay for it?
The cost of either LASIK or PRK can range from $2075 to $2225 per eye depending on the amount of astigmatism and refractive error. Unlike in many offices, this cost includes any additional retreatment or enhancement procedures for up to 1 year after surgery. Unfortunately, almost all medical insurance companies do not cover the cost for LASIK or PRK. On rare exceptions, a few insurance companies may provide financial coverage for the procedure with the restriction of using only their own selected LASIK/PRK surgeon or surgical center. Many individuals have covered the cost using financial credit loans, installment payments, and health savings accounts. Rockland Eye Physicians offers financing through Care Credit. Click here to apply.