Laser eye surgery reshapes the transparent dome-shaped structure in the front of your eye (cornea) to correct vision problems (refractive errors). Laser eye surgery is a permanent change that reduces or eliminates your need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are the most common types of laser surgery. LASIK reshapes the middle layers of the cornea, whereas PRK reshapes the front surface.
Mayo Clinic offers laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Both surgeries produce a permanent change and reduce or eliminate your need to wear glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK eye surgery
LASIK reshapes the middle layers of the transparent dome-shaped structure in the front of your eye (cornea) so that entering light rays are correctly focused (refracted) on the layer of tissue at the back of the eye (retina) responsible for vision. The procedure offers a faster recovery time and less discomfort than do similar laser surgeries, such as PRK.
LASIK can correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and an imperfect curvature of the eye, called astigmatism. Certain people with normal age-related loss of near vision (presbyopia) also may benefit from this surgery, but may still need reading glasses after LASIK to obtain sharp near vision.
PRK eye surgery
PRK involves using a laser to reshape the surface layer of your cornea to correct the focus of light rays on your retina, enabling clear vision. PRK and its variations — laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) and epithelial laser keratomileusis (epi-LASIK) — can correct low to moderate levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
PRK is effective in correcting mild to moderate refractive errors. Some individuals with presbyopia also may benefit from PRK but could require reading glasses after PRK surgery to obtain sharp near vision. PRK is less invasive than LASIK because only the surface of the cornea is modified, not underlying tissue.
Read more about LASIK and PRK eye surgery.
Mar. 17, 2011