Surface Ablation (PRK / LASEK)
Surface ablation is also known as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser assisted epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK). It involves removing the top, epithelial layer from the cornea and then using an excimer laser to reshape the underlying cornea and treat your prescription.
Like LASIK and SMILE, it is highly safe and accurate. However, because the epithelium has to be removed, the eye is likely to be quite sore afterwards and it takes longer for the vision to improve and stabilise. The epithelium usually takes a few days to grow back, and a protective contact lens is used to reduce the pain during this period. Vision may fluctuate for a few weeks, or even a couple of months, before becoming stable. There is also the potential for corneal "haze" to occur, which can reduce vision and require further treatment. These are the main reasons that LASIK and SMILE are the preferred options for most people.
However, surface ablation can be an excellent choice in eyes that are not considered suitable for SMILE or LASIK.
Surface ablation only treats the outer part of the cornea, without needing a flap like LASIK. This means there is no risk of flap problems, which is important if you are involved with contact sports or occupations that increase your risk of trauma. (Note: SMILE is also a flap-less procedure and has the same advantage.)
For eyes with irregular surfaces or epithelial disorders, surface ablation can treat both the prescription and the underlying surface problem
For eyes with corneas that are too thin for LASIK or SMILE, surface ablation may be a good option.
At Optegra, I am fortunate to have access to the latest technology from Carl Zeiss Meditec, meaning I can offer LASIK, SMILE or surface ablation according to your individual needs and preferences. One size does not fit all and the key is finding the right solution for you.