Distinguishing between Laser Vision Correction procedures
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With so many people opting to correct their less than perfect vision with a laser procedure, how can you truly know which procedure you read about is right for you? There is a lot of confusion among consumers about PRK, RK, LASIK, and Custom LASIK. While only your carefully selected eye surgeon will know for sure which procedure is right for you, you can have an idea of what is involved with what before even going into the consultation.
RK is formally known as Radial Keratotomy, and is the original procedure that spurred the technology of the later ones. The cornea is flattened out by using a scalpel to make an incision. Most surgeons now opt for a higher technology procedure, but you may still be able to locate surgeons who will do this procedure.
PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy, and involves the use of the laser in the process of the cornea reshaping. The outside layer is scraped away in PRK, allowing the surgeon access to the cornea. Again, most laser eye surgeons have opted instead for the now FDA-approved LASIK surgery to the relatively "ancient" RK and PRK. However, PRK s still being performed on certain patients who are not considered candidates for LASIK, but are qualified for PRK.
LASIK is now the mainstream laser surgery that most people know and millions of Americans have successfully undergone with unbelievable results. Instead of scraping the outer layer of the cornea away, doctors use a tiny blade to make a flap in the cornea. The cornea is shaped with the laser, and the flap is put back into place.
Finally, the most state-of-the-art laser surgery available now is Custom LASIK. The primary difference between this and conventional LASIK is this: instead of gaining access to the inner parts of the cornea by using a blade, another laser is used, negating the use of any blade near any part of the eye, and drastically reducing the chances of human error.
Whatever procedure sounds best for you, you must schedule a consultation with a nearby LASIK surgeon.