Comparing LASIK, PRK, and SMILE: Which Laser Vision Correction Procedure Is Right for You?

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PRK, LASIK, and SMILE, each of these safe eye treatment options offers safe passage to correct your vision and reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. However, it’s crucial to understand the differences and advantages of each procedure to make an informed decision. Let’s dive into PRK, LASIK, and SMILE surgery options and their finer details to help you determine which safe eye treatment option may be right for you.

What is PRK Surgery?

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a laser eye surgery that utilizes surface ablation to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK and SMILE, which involve creating a corneal flap, PRK involves removing the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, to access the underlying corneal tissue. This key difference sets PRK apart from the other procedures and positively influences various aspects of the surgery, including the healing process and visual recovery.

The Procedure

During a PRK procedure, a cool excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea once the epithelium has been removed. This laser precisely removes microscopic amounts of corneal tissue, allowing light to properly focus on the retina and resulting in improved vision. The entire procedure typically takes around five minutes per eye and is performed as an outpatient procedure.

Prescription Range

PRK is suitable for individuals with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Whether you have a mild or more severe refractive error, PRK can effectively correct your vision and reduce your dependence on corrective lenses.

Thin Corneas, Dry Eyes, and Other Considerations

One significant advantage of PRK surgery is that it can be suitable for individuals with thin corneas. Unlike LASIK, which requires an adequate corneal thickness to create a corneal flap, PRK removes the need for a flap altogether, making it a viable option for those with thinner corneas. Additionally, individuals who participate in contact sports or have professions that put them at risk of eye injuries may consider PRK due to its reduced risk of flap-related complications. Furthermore, PRK may be recommended for candidates predisposed to chronic dry eye, as studies show that fewer corneal nerves are cut compared to LASIK.

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK is a refractive eye surgery and is the most widely used laser vision surgery in practice today. LASIK Surgery has a pretty positive track record with a number of patients experiencing significant improvement post-surgery. Rarely do complications arise, and this has made LASIK an absolute favourite for many across the world.

Procedure: LASIK is not a mere surface procedure meaning the surgeon uses a laser to generate a tiny flap in the epithelium that can be folded back. This reveals access to the corneal tissue rather than totally removing the layer of epithelium off the surface of the eye. This flap is subsequently folded back after the subsequent step in the operation. A contact lens is not required because only the epithelium’s edges need to be repaired now.

Prescription Range: LASIK can be used to correct mild to moderate astigmatism, hyperopia, and myopia.

Thin Corneas, Dry Eye, and Other Problems: A good LASIK candidate needs to have a sufficient corneal thickness since a corneal flap needs to be made during the surgery. Some people with thin corneas are not good candidates for LASIK and might be better suited for SMILE or PRK. Additionally, people who already have preoperative dry eye may not be the greatest candidates for LASIK and may feel better with other options. This is because LASIK has a higher risk for post-operative dry eye.

What is SMILE Surgery?

SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is the latest vision correction technique on the block and is fast gaining popularity. It is a minimally invasive surgery process and works by reshaping your cornea. This gives you clear vision by precisely focusing light on your retina.

Procedure: The key methodological distinction between a SMILE treatment and LASIK and PRK is the absence of an excimer laser. Instead, a lenticule (a tiny portion of corneal tissue) is removed after a femtosecond laser creates a tiny keyhole incision in the patient’s cornea. This combines the advantages of both LASIK and PRK by helping to reshape the cornea and improve eyesight.

Prescription Range: SMILE can only currently treat myopia (short-sightedness) in people who have low to moderate levels of the condition. SMILE, at the moment, is not your best option if your prescription does not fit within this category.

Thin Corneas, Dry Eye, and Other Issues: One big benefit of SMILE is that it is a great alternative for people who are not ideal candidates for LASIK because they have thin corneas. Unlike LASIK or PRK, SMILE does not include the creation of a flap, allowing for preservation of the outer corneal layer. As a result of improved corneal stability, SMILE is less risky than LASIK for those who are susceptible to head or eye trauma (such as boxers).

Which is the best option out of LASER, PRK and SMILE?

Your laser eye surgeon is the only person who can definitively answer that query. To find out which technique is best for your particular needs and eye features, you must schedule a thorough eye exam and pre-operative consultation. To choose among one of LASER, SMILE or PRK, walk into your nearest Nethradhama Super Speciality Eye Hospital, get yourself evaluated and treated to withness your vision improve drastically.

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