Weigh Your Options
If you have lived with glasses or contacts for years, undergoing refractive surgery can be a life-changing event. Advancements in the field of vision correction mean a number of surgeries are available, each suited to different types of patients.
Deciding which type of laser correction is right for you depends on a number of determining factors, and choosing a reputable, experienced surgeon is the first step towards reaching that decision. Dr. Andrew E. Holzman has performed over 70,000 surgeries, and places great emphasis on patient education. During a consultation, he can discuss the benefits of PRK versus LASIK with you at our offices serving Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and surrounding states. Reach out to us today to schedule consultation and learn more about your treatment options.
How Does PRK Differ From LASIK?
You've likely heard of LASIK, but many of our patients are less familiar with photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Both types of refractive surgery share the same goal: to reduce or eliminate your dependency upon corrective eye wear like glasses and contacts. Both surgeries can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. The two differ in their approach to reshaping the corneal tissue.
During PRK, the entire outer layer of the cornea, the epithelial layer, is removed. Dr. Holzman uses a "buffing" device to remove the corneal epithelium, and an excimer laser to precisely reshape the curvature of the tissue underneath. During LASIK, on the other hand, the inner layers of the cornea are accessed through a surgically created flap. Following LASIK surgery, the flap is simply closed shut. After PRK, a soft "bandage" contact lens will be placed to facilitate healing of the eye. New epithelial cells will begin to regenerate within three to five days.
"They differ slightly in their healing process."
How Do I Know Which Procedure is Right For Me?
Despite its widespread popularity, not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. Because PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap, it may be recommended if you have a thin cornea, corneal scarring, or other conditions. It also carries a number of benefits. For instance, there is no risk of developing complications associated with flap healing (a very slight risk of swelling and infection has been associated with LASIK).
Although comparable vision enhancement results can be achieved through both surgeries, PRK recovery is typically slower than LASIK, and it takes longer for the results to become apparent. Some patients have reported slightly higher levels of discomfort after PRK, but anti-inflammatory and pain medications can help minimize these side effects.
Dr. Holzman exercises extremely strict standards regarding LASIK and PRK candidacy. In fact, we recommend that 20% of our patients interested in LASIK consider alternate treatment options. During a consultation, Dr. Holzman will use sophisticated technologies to closely evaluate a number of factors that can determine the best treatment option for you, including the thickness and health of your cornea.
Schedule a Consultation
You can learn more about your refractive surgery options during a consultation at our practice. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.