The Brock Butterfield Story – Why Brock Had PRK vs. LASIK
Like many of us who struggle with contacts and glasses, Brock Butterfield knew that having vision correction surgery could have a tremendous impact on his life. Brock has dedicated his life to pursuing his passions and he could no longer sit idly by and risk life or limb, while seeking to reap the rewards of a life in the wild.
Brock lives a very active lifestyle as he’s a professional snowboarder and adventure athlete. He also spends his time traveling the many roads of North America in a custom school bus that he calls home. For someone like Brock, corrective surgery was a no brainer, but you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to understand the frustration of struggling with contacts and glasses.
There are several types of vision correction surgery but two primary types of laser refractive surgery- PRK and LASIK. While LASIK has become the most recognizable name is laser eye surgery, PRK is actually the predecessor of LASIK and is still a better option for some people who are seeking corrective eye surgery.
Your doctor will help determine which procedure is best for you based on your eye type, the thickness of your cornea, occupation and lifestyle. While it will be important for your doctor to help you determine which procedure is best for you, here are some key factors comparing both PRK and LASIK.
PRK is a refractive surgery that can help those that suffer from nearsightedness (myopia) farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. While PRK is the older of the two surgeries and can have a longer recovery time, it is often a better fit for patients with thin corneas, chronic dry eyes, and for those that occupation or lifestyle might heighten the risk of eye trauma.
A corneal bandage flap is not created with PRK, which means that the procedure is performed directly on the cornea after the outer layer of the cornea is gently removed with a dilute alcohol solution. While this means a longer and possibly more uncomfortable recovery time, PRK still gets great results just like LASIK. The initial healing time can take anywhere from 3-7 days and vision may fluctuate for a few weeks. Since a flap is not created, your surgeon will place a bandage contact lens on your eye for the first 5 days to promote healing and protect your eye.
LASIK, much like PRK, is a refractive surgery that is performed by creating a flap on the outer layer of the cornea. By lifting it up, the laser can access the inner layers of the cornea to reshape it. The flap serves as a natural bandage. LASIK has become the more common of the two procedures because of the improved comfort and shortened recovery time. Many patients that have LASIK are able to return to normal daily functions within 24-48 hours of their procedure.
At The Eye Institute of Utah we use the WaveLight FS200 laser to create the flap, which means we never use a blade during our LASIK procedures. This portion of the procedure takes about six seconds and because the procedure eliminates the use of a blade, it also eliminates any risk associated with using blades in refractive surgery.
Both procedures offer amazing results for those that are approved candidates for refractive eye surgery. The real difference between PRK and LASIK is which procedure is best suited for you based on your lifestyle and the thickness of your cornea. Your eye care professional will be happy help you determine which procedure is best for you. If you have any more questions regarding PRK or LASIK please feel free to contact us today.