Introduction to LASIK and PRK
The most popular eye surgery to correct vision problems in the United States is Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK). In this procedure, the doctor uses a micro cutting instrument to create a flap in the outermost layer of the cornea. The flap is folded back, allowing a computer-guided laser to re-shape the surface of the cornea. This re-shaping is called photoablation. The flap is then replaced on the cornea. Most patients recover quickly from this procedure, often seeing much better without glasses within a few days.
PRK stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy. The procedure re-shapes the surface of the cornea in the same way as LASIK - with photoablation. However, a flap is not created. Instead, the surgeon removes the outer skin of the cornea. The laser re-shapes the corneal surface, and the skin cells are then allowed to grow back to cover the cornea once again. PRK patients take longer to recover and are usually functional after the fourth postoperative day. Vision gradually improves further over several weeks.
The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor with special training in diseases and surgery of the eye. Optometrists are specialists in the treatment of eye and vision disorders. Optometrists actively manage the care of Soldiers before and after laser surgery, but do not perform the surgery.
After refractive surgery, a strict regimen of medications
is prescribed, as well as a physical activity profile to minimize the chance of
injury to the healing eye. Convalescent leave is given for two days following
LASIK, and four days following PRK. The powerful pain control regimen provided
to PRK patients allows most Soldiers to experience only minimal post-operative
pain; however this varies, and occasionally patients experience significant
discomfort for several days following surgery. LASIK usually causes mild ocular
irritation postoperatively for a day or two. Driving vision is often achieved by
day 6 after either type of surgery.
Refractive Surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center
Here at Tripler Army Medical Center, we have an experienced staff and the latest in refractive surgery technology available for all Active Duty Service Members (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard). Since the start of our program in 2002, we have performed more than 12,000 laser procedures. We offer state of the art laser refractive surgery, such as Lasik, PRK, Epi Lasik, and Lasek.
We are located on the 2nd Floor, C wing of Tripler Army Medical Center, and our hours of operation are 7:30am to 4:00pm Monday - Friday (except for holidays).
Our phone number is (808) 433-3089.
The vast majority of people who depend on glasses will qualify for Laser refractive surgery, however, there are some military and medical requirements:
You must have 18 months left on active duty service, must
be at least 21 years of age, and must have a stable refraction for at least 1
year. It is helpful to have a recent eye exam within the last year to help
document your refractive stability.
Here is an overview of the process:
First, you should obtain a Laser information Packet, which includes a commander's authorization form, a screening questionnaire, and a detailed consent form describing the risks and benefits of laser refractive surgery. You may download these forms by clicking the link below:
After completing the questionnaire and obtaining the commander's authorization, it is important to attend the Laser Briefing, during which we will review the laser refractive procedures that we offer and discuss their benefits, potential side-effects, and answer questions to help you make an informed decision about whether laser refractive surgery may be right for you.
After attending the briefing, we will schedule a technical evaluation for you. During this visit, we measure your uncorrected visual acuity, corrected visual acuity, intraocular pressure, tear production, corneal thickness, corneal topography, and pupil size. This information helps us verify that you are a good candidate for the procedure. It is important to not wear contact lenses for at least 2 weeks prior to this technical evaluation appointment, as contact lenses can distort some of our measurements if worn recently.
Having completed the Technical evaluation, the next step
is a doctor's evaluation. During this visit patients are evaluated by one of our
staff optometrists or ophthalmologists. We review your technical evaluation
measurements, measure your prescription, perform a cycloplegic refraction, and
perform a complete eye examination. At a separate visit, we will also perform
centration photographs of your pupils. Your pupil is not exactly centered in the
eye and its location is different in everyone, so we use the photograph of your
undilated pupil to provide the best centration for your laser treatment. After this is completed, we will have all of
the data necessary to perform your surgery. There will be follow up visits as
well to make sure that the healing process goes well and you obtain the best
possible results from the surgery. For Lasik, the follow up visits are usually
on post operative day 1, 7, 1 month, and 3 months. For PRK, the follow up visits
are usually on post operative day 4 or 5, then at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months,
and 3 months.
Refractive Surgery Briefing Schedule