Lasik vs PRK: What’s the Difference?

Corrective lenses are both a blessing and curse to those who need them. A blessing because without them many people would not be able to function normally. A curse because, well if you’re one of the over 60% of Americans who need glasses you already know why all too well.

Whether you wear glasses or contact lenses, no doubt you suffer some sort of discomfort or inconvenience because of your corrective lenses.

Because of this, you may be considering corrective eye surgery. It would be nice to kiss your corrective lenses goodbye for good!

But now you need to determine which procedure would be right for you. Let’s look at Lasik vs PRK and help you decide which option is best for your circumstances.

Anatomy of the Eye

First, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of the eye important to these two procedures.

At their most basic eye problems like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) happen because the shape of the cornea is not compatible with the length of the eye. Both methods of eye surgery work by changing the shape of the cornea.

The cornea is a clear surface covering the colored part of your eye or iris. It consists of 5 layers of tissue. The stroma or middle layer composes 90% of the cornea’s thickness and is made up of collagen fibers. The very front of the cornea is composed of epithelial tissue, which is basically clear skin that protects the eye.

Like skin, this epithelial tissue will grow back if damaged. The collagen fibers in the stroma, however, will not. This is the tissue that is removed during corrective eye surgery.

What Is Lasik Eye Surgery?

The procedure that is Lasik eye surgery sounds pretty simple. The surgeon creates a small flap of the epithelial layer and folds it out of the way. The surgeon then uses precise pulses from the excimer laser to sculpt the collagen fibers that are now exposed.

Once the proper amount of tissue has been removed, the surgeon replaces the epithelial flap and the healing process begins. The patient may feel a bit of discomfort during flap creation, but this is minimal due to numbing eye drops that the surgeon places in the eye at the beginning.

The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes per eye.

Most patients can see immediately after the procedure, albeit the view is a bit foggy. This will continue to clear up as the epithelial flap heals.

Some patients experience an irritation or burning sensation similar to opening your eyes in a chlorinated pool. This may last for a few hours post surgery but clears up quickly.

What Is PRK Eye Surgery?

The idea behind PRK is essentially the same as Lasik. In fact, this procedure was the precursor to Lasik eye surgery.

Instead of creating a flap, the surgeon will actually remove the epithelial layer. Then go about the same reshaping of the exposed stroma layer as in Lasik. This procedure also only takes a few minutes per eye.

Once the cornea is reshaped, the surgeon places a clear contact lens over the front of the eye. This serves as a bandage to protect the exposed cornea until the epithelial layer can regrow.

It is necessary to wear the contact lens bandage for 4 to 5 days. During this time, the patient usually experiences significant discomfort and light sensitivity.

Immediately after the procedure, most patients can see well. But their vision will worsen during the healing process finally clearing up completely once all is fully healed. This can take up to 30 days.

Why Choose PRK?

With the quicker recovery time of Lasik, you may wonder why eye professionals are still performing PRK. As with most medical procedures, there are pros and cons to both.

PRK Pros and Cons

The PRK procedure allows for a shallower treatment of the cornea. This makes the procedure more suitable for patients with a thin cornea.

Also, the stronger the vision correction needed, the more of the cornea needs to be reshaped and removed. Thus, PRK is an option for patients with high prescriptions who don’t have enough cornea to work with to be a candidate for Lasik.

Since there’s no flap to worry about, there’s no risk of complications with that. However, the downside is that there is an increased risk of inflammation and infection overall.

PRK is generally several hundred dollars less per eye. While we count that as a pro for PRK, the price should not be a deciding factor when it comes to something as delicate and important as your vision.

Lasik Pros and Cons

The main advantage of Lasik over PRK is the shorter healing period and virtually no discomfort. The flap is what makes this possible.

However, not having a flap is what makes PRK a better option for some patients. Flap complications are rare with Lasik but can be eliminated with PRK.

For patients who may sustain trauma to their face-MMA fighters for instance-this is important. The flap will secure itself back to the eye, but will always remain. This leaves the eye more vulnerable to damage than before.

Again because of the flap, Lasik patients tend to experience more problems with ongoing dry eye issues. Also, as we already touched on, Lasik requires a slightly thicker cornea to be successful.

Lasik vs PRK

Now that you know a little more about Lasik vs PRK. Which one sounds like a better option for you? Obviously, there are many things to consider and you should consult with an eye professional.

To learn more about which procedure would benefit you best, feel free to contact us today. We have three convenient locations in Texas and top notch surgeons who can help you achieve the clear eyesight of your dreams.

Maybe now you finally can kiss your corrective lenses goodbye for good!

What a Burst Blood Vessel In Your Eye Means

If you recently woke up with a bright red spot in your eye, you’re probably feeling a little nervous. You’re probably anxiously typing a lot of different questions in your favorite search engine, including some variation of:

  • What is it?
  • Why is it there?
  • Is it dangerous?
  • Should I call the doctor?

If you’re worried about what a burst blood vessel in eye means for you, keep reading. Everything you need to know about causes and treatment options is explained below.

What is a Burst Blood Vessel?

A burst blood vessel in the eye is also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage. It may look and sound like a serious health issue, but that’s not always the case.

The blood vessels in the eye are very small and easily breakable. When they do break, blood gets trapped under the conjunctival membranes. This creates the bright red spot that startled you when you looked in the mirror this morning.

This red spot is the most common symptom of a burst blood vessel. Over time, it may take on a green or yellowish color, like a bruise.

Some people notice floaters, which are small shapes that look like little dots or squiggly lines in front of your eye. You may also notice a little bit of sensitivity or irritation.

Burst Blood Vessel Vs. Pink Eye

When they see their eye turning red, some people might panic and assume that they’re suffering from pink eye.

While the results of a pink eye infection (also known as conjunctivitis) may appear similar to a subconjunctival hemorrhage, they are two very different conditions.

You’ll usually be able to tell the difference between pink eye and a burst blood vessel by the presence or absence of other symptoms.

With the exception of floaters and mild sensitivity, there usually are no other symptoms that accompany a burst blood vessel. If you have pink eye, though, you’ll notice several other unpleasant symptoms, including the following:

  • Irritation and itchiness
  • A yellow, white, or green discharge
  • Dryness
  • Wateriness

If these symptoms accompany the red spot in your eye, you may actually be suffering from pink eye.

What Causes a Burst Blood Vessel in Eye?

If you’ve ruled out pinkeye and are fairly certain you’re dealing with a burst blood vessel, you’re now probably wondering what caused this issue to occur.

There are a number of potential causes of a burst blood vessel, including the following actions:

  • A violent cough
  • A powerful sneeze
  • Straining while lifting a heavy object
  • Vomiting

A subconjunctival hemorrhage can also result from an eye injury. If you’ve been roughly rubbing your eyes, or if a foreign object hit your eye at some point, that may be the cause of your burst blood vessel.

Are Some People More Prone to Burst Blood Vessels?

Some people also suffer from medical conditions that increase their chances of experiencing a burst blood vessel. If you have one of the following conditions, your risk of bursting a blood vessel increases:

People who are on blood-thinning medications like warfarin and aspirin are also more prone to burst blood vessels.

How Can You Treat a Burst Blood Vessel?

Generally speaking, there’s not a lot that you can do to treat a burst blood vessel. Most of the time, the best thing to do is to just wait and let it heal while avoiding further irritating the area.

The broken blood vessel will usually naturally heal itself within one or two weeks. The blood will be reabsorbed and the appearance of your eye will return to normal.

While it heals, you can use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to help get rid of any irritation.

It’s also important to avoid rubbing or touching your eye. This can cause more irritation, increase your risk of infection, and potentially break more blood vessels. None of these situations is ideal when you’re trying to recover from a burst blood vessel.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor about a Burst Blood Vessel?

You usually don’t need an eye doctor’s help when you’re dealing with a burst blood vessel. But, if it lingers for more than two weeks, it could be a symptom of a more pressing issue that your doctor should take a look at.

You should also contact your doctor if you notice new symptoms like eye discharge, swelling, or sharp pain. These symptoms are often indicative of an infection like pink eye.

If your burst blood vessel lingers and is accompanied by changes in vision, pain, or strong light sensitivity, it could be an early sign of glaucoma.

Can You Prevent Burst Blood Vessels?

Since a burst blood vessel can be brought on by something as simple as a sneeze, they’re not always preventable. But, at the same time, there are a few things you can do to keep them at bay:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, and, when necessary, rub them as gently as possible
  • If you have something in your eye, use artificial tears to flush it out rather than using your fingers
  • Manage conditions like diabetes and hypertension as carefully as possible to prevent burst blood vessels as a side effect

If you’re taking a medication that increases your risk of burst blood vessels, you can also talk to your doctor about additional steps to prevent them.

It’s also important to schedule regular eye exams. When you meet with an eye doctor regularly, you can avoid or catch early more serious conditions like glaucoma that could lead to a burst blood vessel.

Do You Need to See a Doctor?

Hopefully, you can now rest easy after having your questions about a burst blood vessel answered.

But, if you still have questions, or if your burst blood vessel in eye has lingered for a few weeks, you can and should schedule an appointment with a vision specialist.

If you live in or around the San Antonio area, contact us at Focal Point Vision today for answers to all your questions.

Everything You Need to Know About Laser Surgery

What is LASIK?

When we talk about eye surgery we are always invariably referring to LASIK Eye Surgery. Laser-Assisted in SItu Keratomileusis, commonly referred to as LASIK, is a laser-assisted eye surgery which is used to correct refractive errors of the eye. Lasik procedure uses a computerized laser to change the shape of the outer covering of the eye, the cornea. This allows the eye to focus light on the retina so that a clear image can be formed. Lasik is a blessing for those who are virtually blind without the glasses and are highly dependent on the contact lens as the means for avoiding glasses.

Ideal Candidate for Lasik:

You are an ideal candidate for LASIK if you are older than 18, have a stable eyesight or there have been no changes in the eyesight for at least one year. You have blurred vision without glasses and are either short sighted, far sighted with and without astigmatism and low night vision. Being older than 18 is important because before we reach that age, our eyes undergo a number age-related changes that can disrupt the changes brought about by the LASIK within a few months thereby rendering LASIK useless.

Patients with the end scale refractive errors such as short sightedness of more than −10 diopters, far sightedness of more than + 4 diopters and an astigmatism of more than 5 diopters are not considered good candidates LASIK. Some people might even have very thin corneas which also makes them unsuitable to undergo the procedure since it involves removing a small section of cornea further thinning it. There are certain eye diseases that make an individual unsuitable for surgery such as Glaucoma, in which the intraocular pressure in the eyes is raised, Strabismus, which consist of misalignment of the eyes or Herpes infection of the eye.

LASIK – Preoperative Assessment:

At Focal Point Vision (, we meet with our patients to assess the need for LASIK and to answer all your questions and queries, so that you will be comfortable with the procedure as well as your surgeon. As part of the preoperative assessment, you will be asked to give a detailed ophthalmological history as well as undergo a complete eye examination. A number of eye test will also be done to look for any eye diseases, size, shape and the thickness of the cornea, as well as measuring the size of the pupil and the eye movements.

LASIK – Procedure:

LASIK procedure consists of anesthetization of one or both eyes undergoing the procedure. After anesthetizing the eye, an eyelid speculum is placed in the eye to keep the eye open for the duration of the procedure. The cornea is marked and the pupil is fixated with a suction ring. After that, a femtosecond laser is used to create a corneal flap. After the creation of the flap, it is moved away from the side. An excimer (ultraviolet) laser is used to reshape the eye centered around the pupil by removing the tissue around the cornea and the raised corneal flap is replaced.

LASIK – Post Operative Care:

The whole procedure, including the preoperative procedure, the surgery itself takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Immediately after the surgery the patient might feel mild discomfort for the first 4 to 6 hours and is recommended to close their eyes and rest or take a nap. Patients are also asked to avoid rubbing their eyes and looking directly into bright lights. The patient might also be prescribed antibiotics and steroids for 4 to 10 days. For dry eyes, artificial tears might be used for 2 to 3 months. In the follow up the patients are seen the day after the treatment and then one week later and further on a month later.


A difference can be felt immediately after the surgery and complete correction might take 3 months depending on the degree of refractive error and the amount of the tissue removed. For a higher degree of refractive errors and astigmatism sometimes a retreatment is required after the stabilization of the previous procedure. In this procedure, the flap is lifted again and ablated further. This procedure is known as Enhancement.

What are Refractive Errors?

Refractive errors of the eye are conditions in which the shape of the eye becomes fixed and does not bend the light adequately to form an image on the retina. This consists of 4 type of refractive errors and includes myopia (, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Myopia, also known as short or near -sightedness is the eye condition in which the near or close objects are clear and the distant objects are blurred. This is because the cornea becomes thick and the image is formed in front of the retina (the eye film) instead of on it.

Hyperopia ( or far sightedness is a condition in which the cornea is too thin and bend light beyond the retina, which is why the far objects appear clear but the near objects appear blurry. Under normal conditions, the surface of the cornea is smooth and symmetrical to bends the light rays at one point on the retina on which a clear image is formed. Astigmatism ( is another one of the refractive errors in which the shape and the surface of the cornea is irregular and therefore the image gets distorted.

Presbyopia consists of the age-related changes in the eye. They are also known as the aging eye condition. The lens in the eyes consists of fibers that are flexible and change while focusing on near or distant objects. As we age these fibers become stiff and do not fully focus on objects thus causing blurred vision. There is no treatment for presbyopia as no treatment and or surgery can halt age-related changes and the individual will require glasses as the vision continues to deteriorate.

Contact Us:

If you have more question about LASIK surgery, visit us at To learn more about Focal Point Vision, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (210) 614-3600.


At Focal Point Vision, our ophthalmologists, or eye surgeons, are fellowship-trained and perform both cataract and LASIK surgery. Often during the discussion of cataract surgery, a patient asks, “are you going to be doing LASIK on my eyes? What is the difference between cataract surgery and LASIK?”

Essentially, cataract surgery involves removal of the lens and placement of an artificial lens while LASIK involves reshaping of the cornea.

Before we discuss the nuances of each procedure, it is important to review the basic anatomy of the eye. As you can see in the picture below, the cornea is the clear, spherical “front” of the eye, analogous to the windshield of the car.  Behind the cornea is the iris, or colored part of the eye that can open and close depending on the amount of ambient light, and behind the iris is the lens.  The cornea and lens focus light to land on the retina, which works like the film in a camera, changing light into nerve impulses that travel to the brain.


Thus, we’re born with a clear crystalline lens that works very well when we are young, expanding and contracting to see both far and near without reading glasses.  Around the age of 45, the lens becomes more rigid and harder to flex, necessitating reading glasses.  As the number of birthday candles increases, the lens gets more rigid and cloudy, and when it becomes mostly cloudy, we call it a cataract. Cataract surgery is an exchange of the cloudy, dysfunctional natural lens with an artificial lens made of acrylic.

On the other hand, LASIK is eye surgery in which we use a laser to reshape the cornea and eliminate the need for glasses or contacts.

Again, cataract surgery involves exchange of the lens, while LASIK involves reshaping the cornea. Both procedures can change somebody’s refractive error, or “prescription,” and lessen the need for reading glasses.

LASIK is commonly performed in patients between the age of 20 – 40, while cataract surgery is more often performed in patients above the age of 55.

Over the past few years, we have started to use a LASIK femtosecond laser at the time of cataract surgery to make incisions, divide the cataract, and treat astigmatism. This is called “laser cataract surgery,” and we will address this in future posts.  Thanks!  James Lehmann, MD.


Angle closure glaucoma is a serious condition that can, if untreated, lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. Patients who are at risk for this type of glaucoma have “narrow angles,” meaning the front fluid-filled compartment of the eye is particularly small. Such patients are often far-sighted, or “hyperopic” and at least 1/3 have a family history of a close relative with the condition.

An episode of “acute angle closure” in a patient like this can cause rapid elevation of the pressure inside the eye, with symptoms of a headache, eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Any person with these symptoms should alert an eye care professional as soon as possible, since prolonged elevation of eye pressure can cause severe and permanent damage to the eye.

Focal Point Vision doctors always assess the risk of angle closure glaucoma for each new patient they see, utilizing a variety of tools including special prisms called gonioscopy lenses and an imaging device called an anterior segment optical coherence tomographer (ASOCT). These examination tools help our doctors determine which patients might benefit from a preventative laser procedure known as Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI).

Any patient having an “acute angle closure” episode, and those patients at high risk for such an episode, should have LPI performed. The procedure is done quickly in the office with minimal discomfort, excellent success rate, and extremely low risk to the patient. The laser procedure essentially removes the future risk of angle closure episodes, and should be performed on both eyes, since patients with narrow angles are typically at risk for glaucoma in both eyes. Narrow angle patients who also have cataracts are sometimes treated with cataract surgery, which eliminates the risk of angle closure glaucoma, and improves the vision at the same time.

Don’t hesitate to call 210-614-3600 and make an appointment with the doctors at Focal Point Vision if you or someone you love may have a risk of angle closure glaucoma.