As a LASIK alternative, PRK uses the laser to treat low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. First the epithelium, a thin layer of protective skin, is removed. Next, laser light is directed to reshape the corneal surface so that light rays will focus more directly on the surface of the retina. The amount of tissue to be removed is determined by the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism to be treated.
RK is most effective at treating low to moderate levels of nearsightedness. It was first attempted in the 1970’s by a Russian physician named Fyodorov. He discovered that placing a number of microscopic spoke like incisions in a “radial” pattern around the center of the cornea caused it to flatten. This flattened shape allows light to focus more directly on the retina, thereby reducing or eliminating nearsightedness.
AK is simply a modification of Radial Keratotomy technique and is often performed on patients who have both nearsightedness and astigmatism. To treat astigmatism, the cornea must be made more spherical, or uniformly curved in all directions. This is accomplished by making incisions in the steepest parts of the cornea, causing it to relax and become more round. AK can be performed along with other types of refractive surgery too.
Contact our office to schedule a free consultation to see if you are a candidate for any of these vision correction procedures!