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LASIK or PRK?in Boston, MA

Dr. Steven A. Nielsen of the Nielsen Eye Center explains the benefits of LASIK and PRK laser vision correction and highlights some of the differences between the two procedures.

Boston, MA – Laser vision correction has helped many people reduce, and even eliminate, the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Designed to improve visual refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, procedures like LASIK and PRK are two of the most popular laser vision correction treatments available. Dr. Steven Nielsen, an eye surgeon in the Quincy area, says there are both similarities and differences between the two procedures.  One may be better suited than the other based on the needs and lifestyles of individual patients.

Both LASIK and PRK involve the use of a high-powered laser to slightly reshape the eye’s cornea so that it can better refract light. Once this is accomplished, the patient should be able to see more clearly, without the aid of corrective eyewear. Dr. Nielsen says one of the major distinctions between LASIK and PRK techniques is the fact that LASIK involves the creation of a small corneal flap. Once the flap has been made, the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped, and the flap is replaced. During the PRK procedure, a corneal flap is not necessary. The upper layers of the cornea are actually removed by the laser, making the cornea flatter and better able to refract light.

Aside from the technical differences between LASIK and PRK, Dr. Nielsen says there are other areas that make one procedure a better option than the other for certain patients. He notes that many individuals experience quicker results with LASIK, often reporting much clearer vision after a single day, whereas the optimal results from PRK may take several days to become apparent. Dr. Nielsen also states that temporary side effects such as eye irritation and sensitivity to light after laser vision correction tend to dissipate more quickly with LASIK than with PRK. On the other hand, Dr. Nielsen says, PRK can be a good alternative for patients who have corneas that are too thin for LASIK. PRK may also be a more viable option for patients who have corneas with an irregular curvature or individuals with a history of dry eye.

Dr. Nielsen says the important thing to note is that both LASIK and PRK work toward the same goal, and both are effective in reducing dependence on glasses and contacts. He says individuals who are unsure about which vision correction procedure is the best option for their needs should consult with a board-certified ophthalmologist and have a comprehensive eye exam to determine their candidacy for either procedure.

About Steven A. Nielsen, MD

Dr. Steven A Nielsen is a board-certified ophthalmologist and president of the Nielsen Eye Center in the Boston area. He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the Massachusetts Medical Society.  Dr. Nielsen received his medical degree from the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Doheny Eye Institute at USC. His practice offers a full range of vision correction procedures and treatments for common eye conditions.


The Nielsen Eye Center
300 Congress St., Ste. 201
Quincy, MA 02169
(617) 471-5665

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