Alternative Laser Methods
If the cornea is too thin to perform a LASIK/ Femto-LASIK operation, usually superficial corneal treatments like Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) or trans PRK are good alternatives.
Trans-PRK (NO touch Laser)
This procedure makes a precise and simple removal of the epithelium (superficial cell layer of the cornea) along with the actual laser ablation in one single step. With this procedure no flap is created and the whole operation is performed with the Schwind Amaris excimer laser.
PRK: During a PRK operation an alcohol solution is used to soften the outer cell layer of the cornea (epithelium). The epithelium is removed and gently discarded with a special instrument known as a ‘hockey stick knife’. Laser ablation is performed in exactly the same manner as previously explained for the Femto-LASIK operation. After completion of the procedure, a therapeutic contact lens is put on the cornea to cover and protect the region from which the epithelium has been removed, until the healing is completed. Depending on the patient and the size of the treated area, this can take 2 to 7 days, since the epithelium has to regrow and cover the whole treated area.
Advantages and disadvantages of the superficial PRK
Advantages: Less destabilization of the cornea compared to LASIK/ Femto-LASIK. No Flap related complications
Disadvantages and risks: Temporary pain in the few post-operative days. The amount and duration of pain varies individually. After one week at the most, patients are usually free of pain, since the epithelium is completely healed. The appearance of a temporary cloudiness of the cornea (called haze) is possible and requires medical treatment. Depending on its severity it usually resolves within 3 months.