Using LASEK / PRK Eye Surgery to Treat Your Eye Condition

Laser Eye Surgery is certainly not a stranger to an abbreviation or two.

Whether it’s LASEK, LASIK, or ReLEx SMILe, you can’t go two minutes researching the treatment without coming across a new one and feeling like you’re getting further away from understanding it all.

Fortunately, despite being awash with technical jargon, Laser Eye Surgery is far from as complicated as it first seems.

The fact is, by understanding just a few key details about the different treatments, you can gain a much clearer idea about how it all works.

What is PRK/LASEK?

What is commonly known as LASEK eye surgery, actually refers to a number of very similar forms of Laser Eye Surgery: PRK, LASEK, ASA, Epi-LASIK, and Epi-LASEK.

These procedures are all minor variations on the same surgical theme. They are what is known as surface procedures: varieties of the original form of Laser Eye Surgery, known as excimer laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).

PRK Laser Eye Surgery was introduced in the 1980s, and to date has successfully transformed the vision of millions of people around the world.

Since the early 1990s, PRK has evolved into what is now known as advanced PRK, or Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA). One condition PRK is commonly used to treat is corneal erosions.

In all surface procedures, instead of creating a flap, like in LASIK, the surgeon removes the cornea’s outer skin (epithelium), and uses the same laser to reshape the exposed substance of the cornea. The surface skin then grows back over the next few days.

Lucy, a patient, reacts to her new vision moments after her PRK / LASEK procedure.

Results With PRK/LASEK Laser Eye Surgery

Scientific comparison of these varieties of PRK has shown no differences between them in terms of results. However, studies have shown that advanced PRK offers slightly faster recovery, as well as slightly less discomfort than the others.

PRK is one of the original forms of Laser Eye Surgery. As such, at the London Vision Clinic, we now only use PRK with 5 to 10 percent of patients. These tend to be those with unusually thin or flat corneas for whom LASIK eye surgery would be impractical.

However, as the cornea’s surface is mechanically removed in PRK, the levels of discomfort and recovery times are both higher than with LASIK.

Generally, your vision will be good enough to drive a car within two to three weeks following LASEK Eye Surgery, but you may not achieve your best vision until between six weeks and three months after the treatment.

Have a question about PRK or LASEK that you’d like answered by an expert? Leave us a comment below or contact one of our friendly clinic coordinators today and we’d be more than happy to help.