Advanced Surface Treatment (AST), also called Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), is a procedure for correcting the shape of the cornea, allowing light to focus more clearly in the eye and bring vision closer to normal for people who have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and/or astigmatism.
AST can often reduce or eliminate the need for contact lenses or glasses. Patients that cannot tolerate contact lenses often pursue this option. Athletes, firefighters, law enforcement officers, farmers, pilots and others who cannot wear glasses due to occupational requirements undergo AST to reduce their dependence on glasses. People who simply desire a functional improvement in lifestyle may consider this surgical option (or LASIK to permanently improve vision. Diabetics or patients with other medical illnesses may not be candidates for AST.
The AST procedure is very similiar to LASIK. The difference is that while the LASIK procedure involves making a flap on the surface of the eye for treatment, AST does not. The corrective laser treatment is applied directly to the surface of the cornea. AST/PRK tends to be a little less comfortable temporarily after the procedure because the laser essentially causes a 'scratch' on the surface of the eye. A bandage contact lens is used to reduce this discomfort until the eye's surface heals. The benefit of AST/PRK over LASIK is that the possibility of flap-related complications are eliminated. There is often less problems with dry eye after AST compared with LASIK as well.
Every procedure, including AST/PRK, has its own set of risks and benefits that should be discussed with your surgeon beforehand. Dr. Zudans is currently offering free LASIK/AST consultations and will thoroughly explain these to you if you are a candidate for surgery. You may schedule an appointment by calling 772-569-9500 or by requesting an appointment online.