If I Don’t Qualify For LASIK, Should I Get PRK?

LASIK is one of the most well-known and successful medical procedures. It is a straightforward vision correction procedure.

LASIK is quick and successful like other vision correction procedures. But it has a shorter recovery time than most.

A majority of LASIK patients achieve perfect or near-perfect vision afterward. It is the vision correction procedure of choice for many eye doctors for those reasons.

The exceptional results are due in part to LASIK’s rigorous qualification process. Many people cannot get LASIK for a variety of reasons.

If you can’t get LASIK, its alternatives produce comparable results. One LASIK alternative is PRK.

It is incredibly similar to LASIK and produces equally good vision afterward. Keep reading to see if you should get PRK if you don’t qualify for LASIK!

What is Laser Vision Correction?

The refractive errors nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism all come from a misshapen cornea. The cornea focuses light on your retina as it enters your eye.

An oddly-shaped cornea doesn’t focus light on your retina as it should. Instead, it focuses light behind or in front of your retina or scatters light inside your eye.

Laser vision correction procedures all fix the shape of your cornea, so it focuses light onto your retina. LASIK and PRK both do this and are pretty similar procedures, with one key difference.

What are the Criteria to Get LASIK?

One reason LASIK consistently produces exceptional results is its rigorous qualification process. You must meet all LASIK requirements to undergo the procedure.

Your eye doctor won’t perform LASIK on you if you don’t meet the criteria because it can be dangerous. You can’t get LASIK if you:

  • Are pregnant or nursing
  • Have unhealthy eyes
  • Are younger than your mid to late twenties
  • Have thin corneas
  • Have unstable vision
  • Are in poor health, especially with autoimmune diseases or disorders

If you can meet all these criteria, you may be a candidate for LASIK. Your eye doctor will make the final determination during a LASIK consultation.

If you don’t meet all the criteria, you cannot undergo LASIK. But, PRK may be a good option for you.

What Are The Advantages of PRK?

Like LASIK, PRK reshapes your cornea, so it refracts light onto your retina. In fact, PRK was the precursor to LASIK.

The only difference between the two occurs during the first step of the procedure. To reshape your cornea, your surgeon must access the thick middle layer of your cornea.

That means they need to get the outer layer of your cornea, called the epithelium, out of the way. They make a flap with your epithelium during LASIK and pull it to the side.

The flap remains attached and gets placed back over your eye at the end of LASIK. During PRK, instead of making a flap with your epithelium, it gets removed entirely.

The epithelium does grow back, but it takes longer to do so than the LASIK flap healing. So PRK recovery is more prolonged than LASIK.

But, if your cornea is too thin, your surgeon cannot create a flap with your epithelium, and you cannot get LASIK. But, you can undergo PRK with thin corneas. It requires less tissue to remove your epithelium than to make a flap with it.

Also, the flap created during LASIK is prone to come undone, especially in the first month or two following your procedure. For that reason, PRK is often more popular among athletes and active individuals.

Removing your epithelium creates fewer complications than creating a flap with it. Both procedures produce excellent results. Which one you get depends on your preferences and eyes.

Do you want visual freedom from glasses and contacts? Schedule an appointment at Envue Eye and Laser Center in Oxon Hill, MD! See which procedure suits you!

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