Laser Eye Surgery, PRK, LASIK

LASIK amd PRK FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions and Experiences

LASIK and PRK FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

PRK Procedure - What to expect

PRK Post-Operative Tips

Diary of a PRK Patient

Patient Testimonials

Price, Payment Options

Patient Financing
For detailed information with actual photos of the LASIK procedure, please visit our sister web site

Frequently Asked Questions

Note Before Proceeding - The following is not medical advice. Rather, it is the presentation of commonly asked questions with general answers. Your situation may only be analysed by a qualified eye surgeon. See Disclaimer Clause at the end of this segment.

"I am extremely nearsighted with -8.00 correction required in both eyes. As if this isn't bad enough, I also have astigmatism. I'd love to have this procedure done and get rid of my contacts and glasses, but thought it couldn't be done in my situation. Can it?"

Most probably! That wouldn't have been the case years ago, but it is now. You would have to be examined to determine what range of vision you could expect from the procedure. The majority of people who are nearsighted have a 90 percent chance of seeing 20/30 without glasses or contact lenses after having the treatment.

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"I didn't need glasses at all when I was 35 but now, at the age of 54 I need bifocals to see anything clearly. I hate it! Is there anything that can be done for me? Am I too old?"

If we assume that your current use of the top portion of your glasses is because you have become either near or far sighted there is good news for you in that you could likely be a candidate for PRK. It is important however that you understand that the presbyopic or reading portion of your visual problem cannot currently be treated. Treatment of your distance corrective requirement will likely give you clear distance vision without glasses, but you will probably still need glasses for reading and close work. And as for your age, you are far from what would be considered too old! Most professionals will not treat people under the age of 20, but there is no upper limit in age.

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"Can anyone have PRK?"

No. It is not for everyone. There are certain conditions under which PRK is not recommended and these can be detected when you have your pre-operative examination as well as a Corneal Map done. There are rare individuals who have some eye or other disease condition which could worsen with PRK. The most common contraindication to PRK is a misunderstanding of what the procedure can and cannot do for you. It can usually correct near (myopia) or far (hyperopia) sightedness as well as astigmatism. It cannot however make 20 year old eyes out of 50 year old eyes - i.e. correct presbyopia (the need for reading glasses).

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Cross Section of the Human Eye

"How does PRK work and are there needles involved?"

Vision is corrected by reshaping the eye. This is done by removing a very thin layer of tissue from the front surface of the eye called the cornea - placing the lens power of your glasses on the cornea. Persons being treated remain remarkably comfortable though the entire procedure, requiring only a few anesthetic drops in the eye to ensure a virtually pain-free procedure that takes only minutes. No needles are used and with current technology there is very little discomfort after the procedure.

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"How much time will I have to be off work?"

That depends on whether you have your eyes done one at a time or both together. You would have to be professionally examined to determine what is best for you. In any case, most people return to work and other normal activities within a few days. The epithelium or protective layer of the eye takes an average of 3-5 days to heal and it is recommended that you take extra care during that initial period. See Post-Op Tips for some useful suggestions.

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"Isn't this PRK the height of vanity. I mean, that's a lot of money to spend when glasses or contacts work just as well."

Well, it depends on your point of view. Many patients have PRK so they can pursue the career of choice, such as law enforcement officers, emergency service workers, and professional athletes. Also, some ophthalmologists believe that PRK may be even safer than long term contact lens wear. Though we all regard contact lenses as safe, there are still people who suffer significant loss of vision (and even blindness) every year due to complications of contact lens use.

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"Can you tell me what others have said who have had PRK?"

These are some positive responses from PRK patients. No procedure, however, is without the potential of complications and we warn that you research it carefully. We are now in the process of researching and compiling case histories and will publish them in the near future. In the meantime, we are publishing the personal experience of a PRK patient who had the procedure done in December 1995, in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

  • "I am VERY happy with it. I would recommend it to anyone."
  • "I was so surprised by how little time it took. It was over before I knew it. Immediately after the procedure I could read the small print on a business card. It's great!"
  • "The worst part of the whole thing was sitting there with drops in my eye waiting for the anaesthetic to take effect."
  • "I didn't hurt at all!"
  • "It's great! I can now see the clock on the wall when I wake up."
  • "I really enjoy not having to fuss with my contact lenses."
  • "Putting on makeup used to be almost impossible because I couldn't see anything close up. Now it's a breeze because I can see!"

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"Is the practise of operating on both eyes simultaneously considered a proper practise on behalf of the surgeon, or is it better to operate on each eye individually?"

There is no correct answer to your question as both practises have their supporters. The US FDA at my last knowledge supported only one eye at a time. This is safer as should their be some problem (which occasionally happens), with over or under correction, infection, epithelial ingrowth or many other rare but, possible complications then presumably only one eye would be damaged or lose best corrected visual acuity. However, if each eye is done seperately then there are two appointments for treatment and two healing periods etc. In as much as the procedures are generally safe, effective, and predictable a number of patients and surgeons will have both eyes done at one sitting.

So, if you want the highest safety level chose 1 eye, and if you want convience with a lesser safety margin chose both eyes.

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"What is the difference between T-PRK and LASIK. I am fairly educated in the LASIK procedure, but T-PRK is a new term to me?"

T-PRK refers to a pupil tracking PRK (or LASIK), as done with a scanning laser such as the Autonomous Laser Machine. The commercial trademark of the Autonomous machine is "LADARVision".

Autonomous press release with details of FDA approval.

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"I thought that I was free forever from wearing glasses and contacts. It has been a year since I had LASIK surgery. At first, I thought it was a miracle. But now, I need glasses. Is it safe for me to wear contact lenses again?"

Your question can only be answered by someone who has examined you. You may have become short sighted again, or if you are over 40 years old you may now need glasses for reading. If the former perhaps a retreatment might help. If you want to wear contacts you would need assessment regarding the fit because most contacts are designed to fit a cornea that has not been altered by surgery. Best to check with your own eye doctor.

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"Will PRK or lasik ever be viable for correcting the flaws remaining from the RK method? I am a past-RK patient who started at -6.50 and am corrected to 20/40 (or better). The variable vision and stars remain, as does night vision compromises. Will future PRK efforts include prior RK patients?"

Yes. Some surgeons have been doing over treatments on PRK patients for the last few years. The really exciting horizon is the advent of scanning lasers matched to corneal mapping. Whether you might be able to benefit is a question you should discuss with your doctor.

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"Is it true that with prk the procedure is calibrated to overcorrect initially? If so, how much, and how is the regression process controlled?"

Yes and it is different for each machine, correction, and even operator - algorythms are used which have been corrected via the process of trial and success (initially trial and error). Regression can be partly controlled with drugs or less drugs - primarily steroid drops which is necessary sometimes because different people heal differently. Best to check details with your prospective surgeon.

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For detailed information with actual photos of the LASIK procedure, please visit our sister web site

For more information contact:
Dr. Murray McFadden
(BSc, MD, FRCS(C), Diplomate of the American
Board of Ophthalmology)

© Copyright 1996-2005 Murray McFadden MD, Inc.

Telephone: (604) 530-3332
Fax: (604) 535-6258
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This page last updated on September 29, 2004.
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