- LASIK: Laser assisted in situ Keratomileusis – LASIK is a refractive laser vision correction procedure. It involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea. A flap is cut in the outer cornea and is lifted out of place while the laser is used to reshape the cornea. The flap is then set back into place after the reshaping is complete.
- PRK: Photorefractive keratectomy- PRK was the earliest form of laser vision correction. PRK is different from LASIK because instead of cutting a flap in the outer cornea, the outer cornea is actually removed. This means more pain and a longer healing time, but less chance of problems during healing with the cornea not healing in place correctly.
- LASEK: Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy – Like PRK LASEK is different from LASIK because it removes the outer cornea, not cuts a flap in it. However, with LASEK the outer cornea is dissolved with a chemical solution not cut off as is done during PRK.
The main objective in all types of laser vision correction is to reshape the cornea. It is the misshapen cornea that causes vision blurriness. As you can see the differences in each type of surgery is slight, but it can mean the difference between you being a good candidate and a bad candidate for that type of laser vision correction.
Laser vision correction can only correct certain vision problems – those problems that occur due to a misshapen cornea. Those conditions are myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
Your doctor may recommend LASIK or one of the other types of laser vision correction procedures. Sometimes, depending on your cornea and your certain medical history, one procedure may be more suitable for you then another.
Besides learning about the options in laser vision correction, you should also learn about the risks and the complications that can occur so you can make the best choice. Each type of laser vision correction is a bit different. That means the procedure, the risks and the whole process is different. It is your responsibility as the patient to make sure you understand your procedure.