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Not a LASIK candidate but you want to fix your vision? You could qualify for a procedure called PRK instead! PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a valid alternative to LASIK surgery.

In fact they are actually quite similar. Both surgeries involve reshaping the cornea. By reshaping the cornea, light passing through the eye can focus on the correct point.

Both surgeries boast high success rates and can correct for refractive errors. Keep reading to learn more about PRK with astigmatism!

What Exactly is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by a misshapen cornea. Nearsightedness and farsighted are also refractive errors.

For nearsightedness or farsightedness, it means the cornea is too long or too short. The cornea is also pointed or flat, rather than spherical. With astigmatism, the cornea is not evenly curved. This causes difficulty while seeing.

To understand how refractive errors occur, it’s important to understand how the eye works. Vision is light that bounces off objects and is then detected on the walls of the retina.

In order for the light to be properly focused, it needs to focus on a point in the middle of the retina. In a normal eye, the cornea does much of this focusing while the lens of the eye adjusts to focus the rest of the light.

When the cornea is misshapen, this light can focus too early, too late, or scatter to different points.

If you have astigmatism, your vision seems blurry at every distance. This is because light cannot focus on one point through them.

Instead, the light focuses at many different points. If you have astigmatism, you could suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness as well.

Why PRK Instead of LASIK?

LASIK is usually everyone’s top choice when it comes to refractive surgery, and for good reason. Recovery from LASIK is easy and fast, and the results are astonishing.

But not everyone is a good LASIK candidate. Certain factors can make LASIK unreliable or dangerous to perform. A good LASIK surgeon will not perform LASIK on an unqualified candidate.

One unique candidacy factor for LASIK is corneas that are too thin. Thin corneas do not have enough matter to safely create a flap in the top layer of the cornea. This is a key step during LASIK.

PRK solves this issue by removing the tissue instead of leaving the tissue connected. This is the major difference between the two surgeries.

Since PRK removes the tissue instead of creating a flap, it is safe enough for patients with thin corneas. Another difference between LASIK and PRK is their recovery period.

Do you mind a longer recovery period?

LASIK has a shorter recovery period, allowing most patients to go back to work the next day. PRK takes a few more weeks to recover from, since the tissue in the cornea needs to grow back.

But once you have recovered from PRK, you’ll have comparable visual results to LASIK! This is true for patients with astigmatism as well.

Want to find out if you could be a good LASIK candidate? Schedule a LASIK consultation at Colorado Eye Consultants in Littleton, Colorado today! Haven’t you waited for crystal clear vision long enough?