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LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is one of two major types of Laser Vision Correction (LVC). The other is photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Both of these procedures are used to improve vision in people with refractive errors: nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. Both of these procedures actually use the same laser to re-shape the cornea in order to re-focus the eye. The difference in the procedures is in the technique used to prepare the cornea prior to using the laser for re-shaping. LASIK makes a flap of cornea to fold back prior to changing the shape of the middle layer of the cornea with the laser, and in PRK the top layer of the cornea is actually gently removed prior to proceeding with the laser (the layer re-grows after the surgery under a bandage contact lens).
If you are over 18 years old, have a refractive error, have a normal healthy cornea, and have stable vision you are most likely a good candidate for LASIK. People with certain medical conditions, expectant mothers, and people with cataracts are not good candidates.
As above for LASIK, most people older than 18 with refractive errors are good candidates for PRK. PRK differs from LASIK in that no flap is created, and this makes PRK a good procedure for those patients with thinner corneas. This procedure may also be preferred in patients with moderate dry eye. As with LASIK, people with certain medical conditions, expectant mothers, and people with cataracts are not good candidates.
On your initial visit, you will be screened for eye diseases, such as keratoconus and retinal problems. We will also perform a refraction to measure the refractive error of your eyes, and we will complete a corneal topography exam to “map” your corneas. Once you are cleared for the surgery, we will ask you to stay out of your contacts for a specific length of time prior to the procedure. This ensures that you will have no residual distortion from wearing the contacts.