At Barnhorst Eye Associates we feel very strongly that it is important to be able to offer our patients multiple options for their vision correction surgery in order to pick the appropriate procedure for each patient. LASIK may be the best procedure for one individual while PRK or LASEK may be a more favorable procedure for another.
For Dr. Barnhorst, it is important for patients to feel as though he has taken the time to get to know them and personally examine their eyes. In doing so he is better able to determine the nature of their particular visual needs and desires as well as whether or not they are a candidate for eye surgery. Dr. Barnhorst will discuss with you not only which procedure is best for your eyes, but also if forgoing refractive eye surgery is the best option
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is the most widely performed and recognized laser refractive procedure today. With LASIK, patients are able to reduce or eliminate their need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK can be used to treat nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. In the LASIK procedure, a device called a microkeratome or a laser is used to create a flap in the cornea which is then lifted up allowing the excimer laser to reshape the underlying cornea. The flap is then laid back down in its original position and adheres on its own after just a few minutes. The LASIK flap allows for quick visual recovery with minimal to no post-operative pain.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK is also now known as a "surface ablation" procedure. In PRK the excimer laser performs the same type of treatment as in the LASIK procedure but it is done on the surface of the cornea rather than under a flap. After the laser treatment is done in PRK, a soft contact lens is placed on the eye and left in place for about 5 days to allow the surface of the cornea (the epithelium) to heal. Most patients experience minimal pain after PRK. PRK may be a better procedure for those patients with thinner corneas or those with other corneal surface disorders which can be corrected at the same time as their vision correction procedure.
LASEK or Epi-LASIK is another procedure which also falls under the "surface ablation" category. It is a hybrid procedure between LASIK and PRK. In Epi-LASIK, a flap is created just at the surface layer of corneal cells (the epithelium) and the laser is then performed on the surface of the cornea. After the laser treatment is completed, the epithelial flap can be replaced over the treated area and a contact lens is then also placed on the eye. Some doctors feel that Epi-LASIK creates less post-operative discomfort than PRK while also allowing for a safer procedure than LASIK for those patients who may have thinner corneas or other reasons why LASIK may not be their best option.