LASIK Surgery vs. PRK/ASA

LASIK surgery is popular with patients from Myrtle Beach to Savannah. But some of the men and women who consult with Dr. Kerry Solomon about LASIK surgery are not good candidates for the procedure, for one reason or another. Fortunately, alternative procedures exist that can produce similar results. One of the most common options is PRK (photo-refractive keratectomy) surgery, which is commonly referred to as ASA (advanced surface ablation).

PRK actually received FDA approval before LASIK, and Dr. Solomon performed South Carolina’s first PRK procedure in 1994. Even though both procedures can produce predictable, successful outcomes, there are some key differences between the surgeries.

Here’s a look at what differentiates these 2 approaches, and the benefits of each:

  • The surgical techniques: In LASIK surgery, Dr. Solomon starts by using a laser to create a thin flap on the cornea. He lifts the flap to expose the underlying corneal tissue and replaces the flap after reshaping the cornea. The PRK procedure begins with the eye surgeon applying a topical solution that dissolves the outer layer of cells on the eye’s surface. No flap is made. That outer layer, the epithelium, grows back within a few days of surgery.
  • The equipment used: Much of the advanced technology used by Dr. Solomon during LASIK surgery is also used for the PRK procedure. In both cases, Dr. Solomon uses a computer-guided excimer laser to precisely reshape the corneal tissue.
  • Assessing who’s a good candidate: During the consultation, Dr. Solomon examines the condition of the patient’s eyes to determine if LASIK is the best procedure to use. Severely dry eyes, thin corneas, and a significant degree of myopia are all conditions that may lead Dr. Solomon to recommend PRK instead of LASIK.
  • The recovery process: PRK recovery takes longer than recovery from LASIK surgery. It may be days or a couple of weeks before your eyesight improves after PRK, and even longer for your vision to stabilize completely.
  • The benefits: Each procedure has benefits. Because a PRK procedure doesn’t require making a flap, the complications sometimes associated with that technique don’t occur with PRK. Additionally, the depth of the laser treatment using PRK is less than with LASIK.

In some cases, patients may want to discuss options for alternatives to LASIK, which are discussed in a previous blog post. By choosing an eye surgeon with Dr. Solomon’s experience, you can rest assured that all of the relevant techniques will be explained during your consultation, and that you’ll receive expert guidance as you choose the procedure that’s right for you.

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