Which laser eye surgery is right for you? – Forbes Health

Although recovery differs, Dr. Gicheru explains, LASIK and PRK procedures are extremely similar from a patient perspective. If you and your doctor decide that surgery is the best option, here’s the next step:

LASIK: It takes “only 10 minutes per eye”

On the day of their LASIK surgery, patients can expect their eyes to be numbed from eye drops, says Brad Randleman, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Cole Eye Institute. “It’s a weird feeling, kind of like when your arm goes to sleep, it’s the same kind of thing. The eye is exceptionally easy to numb because all the nerves are on the surface.

Then, he says, the eye doctor uses a small device called an eyelid speculum to hold the eyes open. “It’s just so the patient doesn’t have to worry about blinking.” Similar to numbness, it may feel strange, but shouldn’t hurt.

A laser is then used to create a flap on the surface of the cornea before the flap is lifted. The laser reshapes the corneal tissue. Then the flap is put back in place. “The whole procedure is very quick,” says Dr. Bajic, “only 10 minutes per eye.”

Patients shouldn’t feel any pain during LASIK, but their vision can become cloudy and blurry during the procedure, Dr. Randleman says, especially given the bright lights used during the treatment.

All three experts say recovery time is one of the main advantages of LASIK over PRK. “Most people see clearly and are able to go about their normal activities the next day,” notes Dr. Randleman. Still, it’s not unusual for vision to take three to six months to fully stabilize, the same as with PRK, where someone can experience blurry vision from time to time.

Another common side effect is dry eyes. A study in Expert examination in ophthalmology, found that up to 60% of people had this symptom one month after LASIK. It usually goes away six to 12 months after surgery.

PRK: recovery may take longer

PRK begins the same way as LASIK, with numbing eye drops. It even uses the same laser, according to Dr. Gicheru. “The main difference is that a [corneal] the flap is not created during PRK. Instead, he explains, the eye doctor uses a special solution or motorized brush to remove between 6 and 9 millimeters of the outer layer of the cornea. The laser reshapes the corneal tissue and, just like with LASIK, the procedure takes about 20 minutes in total.

The recovery period is longer than LASIK, which Dr. Bajic says is why LASIK has become more popular. “With PRK, there can be a few days of discomfort while the eyes heal,” she says, adding that this can include blurring, irritation, and sensitivity to light.

During the first two days after PRK surgery, it is recommended to wear special bandages to protect the eyes, she notes. The irritation and discomfort should disappear after a few days, although, as with LASIK, vision may take three to six months to fully stabilize.

Patricia J. Callender