PRK and Visian ICL: Alternatives to LASIK Eye Surgery
LASIK surgery isn’t for everyone. You may not qualify for LASIK for health reasons, or simply because your corneas aren’t thick enough. If you dream of being able to do away with glasses or contacts, this can be disappointing— but you have other options. Many centers that offer LASIK also offer alternative eye treatments that correct your vision. Even if you’re not considered a good candidate for LASIK, other alternatives may be a good fit!
PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a type of procedure that like LASIK, utilizes the use of a laser. PRK actually predates LASIK surgery and was the first kind of vision correcting laser surgery. What makes PRK different from LASIK? LASIK surgery focuses on reshaping the cornea after making a thin flap and then replacing that flap after surgery. PRK, on the other hand, focuses on the exterior of the cornea. The thin outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is removed before reshaping the cornea directly. The epithelium grows back naturally over time. Because of this, the recovery for PRK surgery is a little longer as the epithelial cells need time to reconstruct. There is also a slightly increased chance of discomfort and infection after surgery for this same reason. The outcome of PRK and LASIK are comparable to each other. If LASIK isn’t right for you for whatever reason, PRK may be a good alternative.
It’s possible that laser corrective surgery isn’t right for you, whether it’s LASIK or PRK. In that case, you still have options. The best option for patients who aren’t good candidates for LASIK or PRK is ICL, or an Implantable Collamer® Lens. This is essentially a permanent lens that is placed at the base of your cornea. This lens is easily inserted into your eye during a simple procedure. The benefits of an ICL over laser corrective surgeries are numerous— recovery is easier, the procedure is reversible, and it allows for stronger prescriptions than laser surgery. The ICL also provides UV protection which will keep your eyes healthier longer by preventing sun damage.
Which One Do I Choose?
With these available alternatives to LASIK, you may have a hard time finding the right kind of permanent corrective solution. But it’s all about what’s right for you. Consider what you want to get out of your surgery. Is your goal simply to be able to see unassisted? Do you want the option to reverse the procedure at some point? Do you want a fast recovery? You probably have some ideas about what you’re looking for if you’re considering a corrective procedure. You may also be limited simply by the strength of your prescription or the natural thickness of your corneas. In that case, your best option may be ICL. It all depends on your individual health and preferences.
Of course, you should consult your doctor to find the best solution that works for you. To learn more and find out what your best options are, call Vermont Eye Laser today to schedule a consultation.