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Surface Ablation as an Alternative to LASIK (PRK)

LASIK is a safe and effective procedure to correct refractive errors (nearsightedness and farsightedness). However, some patients are not candidates for LASIK. The commonest reason patients may not be candidates for LASIK are that their corneas are too thin for the amount of correction required. Other corneal disorders may exclude patients from LASIK as well such as severe dry eyes. For those patients, advanced surface ablation, also known as PRK (phototherapeutic keratectomy) is an excellent option. With the advanced surface ablation procedure, a corneal flap is not required. Instead, the very top surface of the cornea known as the epithelium is gently removed. The same excimer laser used for LASIK is used to reshape the cornea. A contact lens is then placed over the eye and is kept in place for 3-5 days while the epithelium heals.

The advantages of advanced surface ablation are that it allows patients who may not otherwise be candidates for refractive surgery to have their vision corrected. There are also fewer issues with dry eyes postoperatively compared to LASIK. The disadvantages are that is is more uncomfortable than LASIK the first 3-5 days postoperatively while the epithelium is healing, and the vision is blurrier during that time. The postoperative eye drop regimen is more prolonged than with LASIK as well. At Akler Eye Center, we will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if this procedure is right for you.

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