Side Effects LASIK and PRK
By Andrew Holzman on March 28, 2010
LASIK and PRK are both incredibly effective and safe procedures today. They differ in that LASIK heals a bit faster since we create a corneal flap and perform the laser vision correction treatment under this flap, which is replaced and secured at the end of the surgery. PRK is done on the surface and there is no corneal flap, so the surface takes a while longer to heal and vision is more blurry in the first week than in LASIK. PRK is done on patients with thinner corneas and sometimes on patients that have mild corneal warpage.
Side effects after these procedures are temporary and usually very easily dealt with. PRK patients experience some minor scratchiness and aching sensation during the first week post op and then this goes away. The first few months the patients may have mild glare and haloes around lights, especially at night. The vision may not be crisp during the first month, but usually becomes crisp after that. There is very mild dry eye with PRK and the patient should use lubricant drops several times per day for the first few months. The vision after PRK is remarkably stable and has been proven to be stable at 10 years through large studies done in our industry. PRK is done sometimes on Military personnel and occasionally on Law enforcement as well, but most Military patients these days will choose LASIK as they have been approved for it.
LASIK is characterized by some stinging and tearing during the first 3 hours, but DON'T WORRY! We give you some numbing drops to take the sting out. We recommend a 3 hour nap after surgery and then the patient usually feels GREAT!. The next few days there is some mild haziness, but usually you can see 20/20 on the first day--- most people can drive without problem. There will be glare and haloes around lights, especially at night, which usually lasts for a few weeks. Dry eyes is the main thing we watch for and the GOOD news is that with iLASIK (Bladeless, Intralase and Custom combined), the dry eye is MUCH less than what was seen in previous types of LASIK. Also, the incidence of Dry Eye is lower. Nonetheless, we will test your eyes and if you show any sign that there might be dryness afterwards, we will be pre-treating you with special medicated drops (RESTASIS and others) which will help you heal. We will also tell you that you should avoid wind in the eyes, turn vents away from face, turn off ceiling fans, and lubricate at the computer terminal for a few months after the surgery. There is less than a 1% chance that the patient may need what is termed an enhancement, which is a secondary procedure to "tighten" up the result. I have one of the lowest enhancement rates in the country, and it is a testament to my phenomenal staff and very strict protocols. We are perfectionists! My clinical director and right hand, Dr. Tina Burr is the best in her field, and has been acknowledged by the Virginia Optometric Association and Northern Viriginia Optometric Society for her accomplishments. My three surgical technicians, Maria Oettinger, Jennifer Phung, and Eleni Katsikes are the ultimate professionals. Nothing but the best is allowed. Our patient counselor, Pam Heishman is so friendly and helpful, you all will love her. Lyzzy Cruz basically runs the office up front and will be assisting you with all your logistical needs. Tony Alberts is our office manager and keeps the ship running on course. Kristina O'Neill is our part timer and internet specialist, so if you find us online, she will be helping you. Joan Reich is our representative who handles our Optometric Affiliates. This is a big deal as we have well over 150 affiliated Doctors who send us referrals! All of us are dedicated to helping you achieve your ultimate goal-- Excellent vision without glasses or contacts!!