What Health Insurance Covers Lasik Eye Surgery – You are here: Home / Eye Conditions & Services in Honolulu, HI / LASIK Honolulu HI / PRK Surgery in Honolulu, HI (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK or photorefractive keratectomy is one of the safest and most proven laser vision correction procedures available. Before LASIK, PRK was the most common refractive surgery procedure. Like LASIK, it shapes the cornea to improve vision. PRK is currently used mainly for patients with large pupils or thin corneas.
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Studies have shown that 90-95% of patients with correction up to -6.00 diopters achieve 20/40 vision after PRK, and up to 70% achieve 20/20. Patients who require less correction generally have better results. Risks of PRK include infection, haze, slow healing, scarring, over- or under-correction of visual conditions, and the development of astigmatism.
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Photorefractive keratectomy, abbreviated PRK, is a type of refractive surgery to correct myopia, myopia, and astigmatism. Although LASIK surgery has become more popular, PRK was actually the first type of laser surgery performed for vision correction. While LASIK and PRK reshape the cornea to correct refractive error, the difference is that in PRK the epithelium, a thin membrane that protects the cornea, is removed to gain access to the cornea. In LASIK, a flap is created to gain access. The necessary new epithelial growth can make PRK recovery much longer than LASIK
PRK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. In this procedure, Dr. Maehara uses our excimer laser to reshape the cornea, correcting refractive errors.
PRK may be a better option than LASIK when patients have thin or irregular corneas. This is because PRK does not create a flap in the corneal stroma. It may also be a better choice for participants in certain contact sports or occupations that involve bumping or hitting the eye. That’s because the flap created in LASIK can move out of place, and with PRK there is no flap.
An advantage to PRK over LASIK is the elimination of flaps. This eliminates the chance of complications with the cover. PRK is suitable for patients with thin corneas, while LASIK may not be. At Maehara, we perform bladeless LASIK, which removes all irregularities in the lid. PRK may be a better procedure for patients with large pupils.
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Like LASIK, PRK shapes the cornea and corrects refractive errors that reduce visual quality. So, if you have refractive errors and want to eliminate the need to wear corrective glasses, PRK or LASIK are great procedures. But because PRK does not create a flap in the corneal stroma, it may be a better procedure for patients with thin or irregular corneas, or for those concerned about complications with flaps created in LASIK. PRK is also an excellent choice for patients with large pupils.
Dr. Jeffrey Maehara performs our PRK procedures. The first step is to place anesthetic eye drops in the patient’s eyes. This ensures the brief procedure is done painlessly. Next, we put a device to keep the eyelids retracted.
After the epithelium is removed, the excimer laser reshapes the cornea. This reshaping corrects refractive errors that are too focused (farsightedness) or nearsighted (nearsightedness), or when the cornea is more oblong than round (astigmatism).
“I suffered from vision impairment due to surgery with another doctor. I went to 3 other surgeons for help and thousands of dollars. I even saw a surgeon in Texas. No one could help me. I thought I would have to live with vision distortion in forever. On my first visit to see Dr. Maehara he knew exactly what the problem was. I had to have another operation, but since then my vision has been clear and I can see! Now I send all my family and friends to him. No one else that I will trust my vision again!”
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Because the epithelium is removed with PRK, recovery is much longer than with LASIK. Still, it’s not a particularly difficult recovery.
Immediately after surgery, you will rest for a while and then someone will drive you home. We prescribe topical antibiotics as well as anti-inflammatory and pain medications. This will make you comfortable, reduce swelling, and speed up the healing process.
Since the epithelium must regrow, PRK recovery takes longer than LASIK. Depending on your growth rate, your recovery may vary from a few days to a few weeks before your eyes are really good. In most cases, PRK patients can drive a car within one to three weeks, but it may take up to six months for your vision to clear and the final result to stabilize.
The long-term results of PRK are similar to LASIK, but as mentioned above, some patients are better suited for PRK. PRK allows patients with various refractive errors to see, often for the first time in their lives, without the use of corrective glasses or contact lenses. Patients are very happy to be able to wake up and read the number on the alarm clock, instead of having to take out their glasses first. Exercising is more fun without having to deal with fogging glasses or sweaty lenses. Some patients who choose not to wear glasses during sports because of the inconvenience often find that they can now do better after the PRK procedure with Dr. Maehara. Just seeing things clearly without any help, pleases PRK and LASIK patients.
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Studies have shown a success rate with PRK of approximately 99 percent when patients are asked if they are satisfied with the results of laser surgery. Overall, 95 percent of patients achieved 20/40 vision or better. Seventy percent achieve perfect 20/20 vision.
Like Maehara’s LASIK surgery, PRK is painless. We put anesthetic eye drops in both eyes before the PRK procedure. This means you won’t feel anything.
After this laser surgery, you will need someone to drive you home. You may experience mild eye pain for the first 24-36 hours, but this can be managed with eye drops. You will have a “foreign body” sensation in your eyes. It is wise to sleep for a few hours, if possible, to overcome the worst discomfort. For the first week or two, you may have blurred vision, and your eyes will be more sensitive to light. From there, your vision will continue to evolve into the best possible situation.
In PRK the epithelium is removed. It will grow back, but this aspect of PRK makes for a longer recovery than with LASIK. In LASIK, Dr. Maehara does not remove the epithelium. Instead, the flap is created in the corneal stroma. Creating this flap provides equal access to the cornea removing the epithelium. With PRK, the epithelium must grow back after surgery. In LASIK, the flap must heal, which happens much faster. But sometimes there can be complications with the flap.
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As the difference between these refractive operations is the epithelium (remove or not), which is the main disadvantage for PRK. PRK can have a slower visual recovery than with LASIK. PRK can take several weeks for full recovery of functional vision, while LASIK only takes a few days to return to functional vision. PRK usually also causes discomfort during the first few days of recovery, with burning or watery eyes. Vision can also fluctuate as the epithelial tissue grows back. Final results tend to last longer with PRK than with LASIK.
Both PRK and LASIK are safe and effective surgeries. They have been performed tens of millions of times around the world. Complications are quite rare, and can usually be resolved with a second, more limited operation.
PRK and LASIK are both considered elective procedures to improve the quality of a patient’s vision. They are not considered necessary or needed. Because of that, health insurance rarely covers these surgeries.
If you want to know if our PRK procedure is right for you, be sure to give us a call at 808.955.3937 or click here to submit an appointment request form! Drs. Jeffery and Dennis Maehara serve patients in Honolulu and surrounding areas of Hawaii. Does Insurance Cover LASIK Surgery? Most health and vision insurance plans generally do not cover LASIK eye surgery. LASIK is considered a cosmetic procedure and insurance any coverage will vary depending on whether the monthly premium is set aside to cover the procedure.
Can You Use Hsa Or Fsa For Lasik Surgery?
Currently, typically the only insurance plans that cover LASIK eye surgery are large specialty unions that provide monthly premium dollars to the insurance fund. However, because LASIK is the most popular elective surgery, most plans offer value-added LASIK programs or discount programs.
Many of our members ask, “Does Insurance Cover LASIK?”. In we will check to see what the insurance plan offers and give the best non-covered insurance LASIK surgery prices with our doctor. Our members save significant money compared to the national average LASIK eye surgery cost. Our dedicated Care Manager will explain the types of procedures and their costs so you can understand the difference
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