Difference between PRK, LASIK and ReLEx SMILE laser eye surgery

More about PRK:

A PRK procedure reshapes the cornea thereby reduces dependency on glasses or contact lenses. It is performed for correcting myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. This refractive error correction is performed using an excimer laser, usually in patients for whom LASIK is not suitable or if they have conditions like thin cornea or severe dry eyes, or have had LASIK surgery done in the past and one cannot lift the ‘ corneal flap’ for a re treatment.

     More on LASIK:

PRK was a procedure earlier to LASIK. LASIK was introduced to tackle the complications of PRK in terms of pain, haze, and other healing issues.

In LASIK a protective corneal flap is created and this flap is lifted and cornea reshaped using the excimer laser. The flap is then placed back and it heals in few days time. The limitation of LASIK was that due to this flap creation, one faced issues such as dryness of eyes, and a serious although extremely rare complication termed “corneal ectasia”. This was attributed to the flap which was made by the ‘cutting’ of the first few layers of the cornea, thereby resulting in weakening it and loss of its corneal integrity. To avoid such complications, the newer method is ReLEx Smile. In this there is no flap, hence no cut, hence no weakening of corneal fibres. Thus ReLEx smile was introduced not to make the vision sharper than what LASIK is achieveing, but in order to remove the complications which came due to ‘flap’ creation.

     More on ReLEx SMILE laser eye surgery

  • A lenticule is created deep in the cornea, thus saving the first layers.
  • It is a flapless procedure and only requires a keyhole incision to remove the lenticue
  • It uses a highly advanced 3rd generation Femtosecond laser viz the Zeiss VisuMax
  • It is suitable for patients with high powers and those prone to dryness due to serious computer related work.
  • Compared to LASIK, ReLEx Smile it is 80 % smaller side keyhole incision.


Comparision between PRK and LASIK and ReLEx Smile:

Let’s look into the major areas they differ in.

  • Visual Outcome: Not much difference between the results after a year of LASIK and PRK cases. A gradual vision improvement could be expected in PRK than in LASIK. LASIK vision improvement is better and faster than PRK. In ReLEx Smile excellent visual results could be expected.
  • Visual Recovery: PRK takes more time than LASIK. ReLEx smile is comparable to LASIK. Visual recovery differs from patient to patient.
  • Post operative Complications: No Flap related complications in PRK while flap related complications could be present in LASIK. However the chances of post surgery infection and inflammation are more in PRK than LASIK. ReLEx Smile has almost no post operative complication and the safest among all.
  • Recovery time: LASIK and ReLEx Smile have faster recovery compared to PRK. ReLEx Smile is the quickest thereby making it possible to return to routine activities very soon. ReLEx Smile has minimal restrictions to get back to contact sports or swimming.
  • Pain: Less pain and more comfort in LASIK compared to PRK. ReLEx Smile is most comfortable out of them.
  • Procedure difference: PRK is directly on the corneal surface hence no flap is created. The entire outer part of the cornea (epithelial layer) is removed and discarded. The corneal architecture is least compromised in ReLEx Smile compared to PRK and LASIK.
  • Cost difference: ReLEx Smile is more expensive than LASIK given the new advancement of technology and PRK. PRK is comparatively the lowest.
  • Flap related issues: PRK and ReLEx Smile have no chance of Flap related issues while LASIK could have chances of the same.
  • Dry Eyes: PRK and ReLEx Smile have least incidence of dry eyes compared with LASIK.

Over the years of research, the latest techniques, the surgical procedures and equipments have evolved in the refractive arena thus empowering precision and expertise to maximize results with minimal concerns.

Do get in touch with us for more details and consultation to get your doubts cleared and get the best treatment for you.

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