PRK in Washington DC and the DMV
Congratulations on taking your first step towards visual freedom! At Brusco Vision, we believe that everyone deserves the freedom and flexibility of having clear vision. We encourage you to do your research before making the life-changing decision to live a life free from the barriers of glasses and contact lenses. We want you to feel comfortable and confident with your choice to permanently regain your clear vision. It is our goal to address as many of your questions or concerns as possible before you proceed. Believe it or not, our goal is not to convince you to have ASA PRK (or one of its other 5 modern variations) — it is to give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.
Why ASA PRK?
While SBK LASIK is a highly effective option for many people, it is not the best option for everyone. For those who aren’t suited for LASIK, there are several other excellent vision correction solutions at Brusco Vision that may still free you from glasses and contacts. Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) – the modern update of Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) – is a LASIK alternative that is typically reserved for a subset of laser eye surgery candidates who have special considerations. It is preferable for patients with thinner corneas, minor corneal irregularities, scarring, for patients with specific hobbies such as contact sports or occupations such as in particular branches of the armed forces, or for those with keratoconus who have already had crosslinking performed.
A Highly Precise Technique that Delivers Exceptional Outcomes
ASA has been shown to provide equivalent vision to SBK LASIK in many studies. Just like SBK LASIK, ASA is a highly precise technique that delivers exceptional outcomes and is a time-tested procedure with proven results. Unlike SBK LASIK, the recovery time with ASA is generally longer (several days instead of several hours) and the postoperative period may be slightly uncomfortable.
What is the Difference Between ASA and SBK LASIK?
ASA PRK is essentially LASIK without a flap. PRK was FDA approved in 1995 and is the procedure that was developed directly before LASIK. It was the first type of surgery to use a laser to operate on the cornea. Millions of PRK procedures have been performed worldwide since its inception 30 years ago. Like SBK LASIK, it corrects vision by reshaping the cornea to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. Instead of using a femtosecond laser to prepare the cornea for treatment, ASA is performed by gently removing the epithelium (outer skin layer of the cornea). Then the excimer laser is applied to the surface of the cornea and your vision is corrected in the same manner as with SBK LASIK. The outer surface of the eye is reshaped to correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After the laser has fully reshaped the eye, a special contact lens is placed to protect the cornea while the epithelium heals underneath. Just as with SBK LASIK, no sharp instruments are used during ASA. Advanced Surface Ablation is a very effective alternative to SBK LASIK at Brusco Vision in Washington DC and the DMV.
How Do I Know if ASA is Right for Me?
ASA at Brusco Vision in Washington DC and the DMV is an excellent solution for someone who is at least 18 years of age with a stable refraction and is seeking a safe and effective alternative to glasses or contacts. The same FDA approved lasers that are used in SBK LASIK are used in ASA. It is true that ASA is not recommended as often as SBK LASIK. This is simply because the recovery time is longer. During your initial consultation at Brusco Vision, with our advanced ocular and vision analysis (ANOVA), you will experience a thorough diagnostic examination and meet with Dr. Brusco to determine if this procedure is best for you.
Benefits of ASA
Did you know that laser vision correction is safer than wearing contacts? Over the long term, you’re several times more likely to develop a serious eye infection from wearing contact lenses than from the one time experience of ASA. Never worry about leaving your contacts in too long again with laser vision correction!
While the cost of a vision correction procedure does come with an initial upfront investment, do you know how much you’re already spending on glasses and contacts? Try our cost calculator to see how it adds up over time.
Live more independently without any plastic affixed to your eyes to function. Experience the sense of relief with not having to deal with contacts, glasses, or solutions to manage. Just wake up and see. Pack and go. Dive in and swim. Laser vision correction better accommodates a busy, active lifestyle.
Eliminate the need to clean your contact lenses or continually wipe your glasses free of smudges. Laser vision correction frees up 5-10 more minutes of your day to avoid these annoying tasks. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 45 hours. What would you do with that extra time?
Reasons to Have ASA at Brusco Vision
ASA Day of Surgery
On the day of the procedure, patients can expect to be in our office for 2 hours. While the entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes, the laser portion of the treatment is completed in only a few seconds. The visual freedom our patients obtain, however, can last a lifetime.
Several tests may be repeated to verify measurements. An optional mild sedative is offered to patients and anesthetic eye drops are applied to numb the eye. A small, gentle eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids so you don’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure.
Dr. Brusco gently polishes off the epithelium to prepare the cornea for treatment.
Dr. Brusco then applies the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct the vision.
A temporary soft contact lens is then placed on the eye to help with healing for several days.
While the procedure itself is virtually painless, the recovery time is longer than with SBK LASIK. The immediate recovery period after ASA PRK is typically 48-72 hours after surgery, in which time patients sometimes report itchiness and discomfort. This happens while your body’s natural stem cells heal over the laser-treated area. As healing further progresses, patients’ vision will continue to improve for up to 30 days or more post-surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both procedures are safe. ASA is better suited for certain types of eyes, such as those with thin corneas, scarring, or certain irregularities. The US military has fully adopted both ASA and SBK LASIK as vision correction solutions.
Absolutely. ASA treats astigmatism in addition to myopia and hyperopia.
No, the changes with ASA are permanent. However, around age 45, most people begin to have difficulty seeing up close (presbyopia). This occurs whether they’ve had ASA or not. If you are close to this age, we’ll take that into consideration in determining your best vision correction options.
You will not feel any pain during your procedure. However, a subset of patients can expect to experience discomfort during the healing process lasting about a day, starting 1-3 days after the procedure.
The lasers used at Brusco Vision are equipped with features to limit eye movements or monitor the position of your eye, making necessary adjustments for any position changes during the treatment process. Even if you coughed, for example, our excimer laser would automatically stop and later resume exactly where it left off. In addition, a gentle eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids so you don’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure.
The procedure takes about 10 minutes to complete for both eyes, but the laser portion is only seconds per eye. Most patients are surprised by how quick the process really is.
No, it doesn’t. However, ASA is a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account procedure. If your company offers a health or flexible spending account, you can generally use it to pay for ASA.
Because of the particular technique involved, the visual recovery with ASA takes longer than with our other vision correction solutions – days rather than hours. Most of our ASA patients have enough vision to comfortably drive within 3-7 days. The vision continues to clear and improve even more over the next several weeks.