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What Is Refractive Surgery?

A refractive error is a group of eye disorders, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism which alters and blurs a patient’s vision. Refractive surgery helps to correct these errors to sharpen one’s sight to its best potential. Refractive procedures reshape the cornea, the clear membrane on the front part of the eye, to give the patient the clearest visual image. LASIK is the most popular of these procedures. PRK is also a popular surgery for correcting one’s vision. Which procedure would work best for you will be determined by you and your ophthalmologist after an initial evaluation. Factors such as the amount of refractive error and corneal thickness will need to be measured to decide upon the best procedure.

At the Chicago Eye Institute, we use the latest FDA approved lasers to deliver customized LASIK/ PRK to each individual patient.

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What is LASIK?

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is an outpatient procedure performed to correct refractive errors, most commonly nearsightedness. With LASIK, an ophthalmologist uses a laser to create a thin flap in the cornea. The flap is then lifted and a second laser is used to sculpt the cornea. The flap is then placed back into its original position.

Nearsighted patients have a steep cornea which LASIK is used to flatten. On the other hand, farsighted patients use LASIK to achieve a steeper cornea.

Astigmatism is an irregularly shaped cornea. LASIK is performed to achieve a more uniform and regular shape eye.

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What Can I Expect After LASIK Surgery?

Patients usually experience a significant improvement in their vision after 24-48 hours. Typical follow up is one day, one week and one month after surgery. Drops will be used for a period of about one month to help decrease any inflammation and prevent any infection after surgery. While complications are rare, it is important for close follow up in the first few weeks after any refractive surgery to minimize any problems. Glare, halos and dry eyes are common soon after LASIK but typically dissipate with time.

What is PRK?

PRK (photorefractive keratoplasty), is very similar to LASIK. It is a procedure used to correct for refractive errors. Unlike LASIK however, where a flap of cornea is created, PRK instead, is used to remove the outermost layer of the cornea. The same laser is then used to reshape the cornea and the removed layer is then given time to regrow. The advantages with PRK is that less tissue is utilized and that potential complications with the flap are eliminated. Recovery is prolonged however given the time needed for tissue regrowth. While some patients may not be ideal candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas or certain surface diseases, they may be candidates for PRK.

What Are the Risks of Refractive Surgery?

Overall LASIK and PRK are extremely safe procedures and provide less complications than daily contact lens wear. They are however, still surgeries which can present with risk such as glare and halos, dry eyes, corneal haziness, scarring and infections. In addition, further or repeat surgery may need to be performed to best correct one’s refractive error. You and ophthalmologist will decide the best course of action. For more information please visit the Academy of Ophthalmology website at .

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Ready to Get Started?

The team at Chicago Eye Institute will help determine if this procedure is right for you and answer any questions you may have. We’re here to support you on your journey to clearer vision. Take our online LASIK test and then request your appointment. We're looking forward to seeing you!

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Chicago Eye Institute

5086 N. Elston Ave
Chicago, IL

Directions 773-282-2000
Illinois Masonic Medical Center

836 W. Wellington Ave
Chicago, IL

Directions 773-296-8000
Hyde Park

1525 E. 53rd St, Ste 1002
Chicago, IL

Directions 312-236-6575
EyeSouth Partners Surgery Center

6311 West 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

Directions (708) 575-1038
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