PRK vs. LASIK—What's the Difference?
Sep 16th, 2016 - Blog

LASIK and PRK Surgery Are Similar

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) and Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) are laser eye procedures used to improve:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism

Both LASIK and PRK surgery are completed on an outpatient basis.   With both LASIK and PRK surgery, vision can be improved by gently reshaping the cornea using a highly precise computer-controlled laser.

PRK vs. LASIK:  How They Differ

There are three main differences between LASIK and PRK surgery:

  1. Surgical Techniques

During a LASIK procedure, an incision is made to create a corneal flap that can be partially lifted and allow surgeon to gently reshape the cornea with laser. After the laser treatment, the flap is carefully repositioned over the eye. The edges of the flap will re-adhere as the typical healing process occurs.

In PRK surgery, there is no flap created. The very thin outermost layer of the cornea is removed for the surgeon to access the part of the cornea that will be reshaped via laser. As the eye heals, this thin outer cell layer will regenerate itself.

  1. Recovery Period

In the early stages of recovery, LASIK and PRK laser eye surgery patients may experience some itching and/or burning sensations. The effects are temporary, and the doctor prescribes eye drops or other medication to ease discomfort.

With PRK, these symptoms usually last longer than LASIK. This is because the thin outer corneal layer requires more time to heal after PRK, which explains why visual recovery is typically quicker with LASIK.  PRK may also require more frequent follow-up visits to monitor healing.

However, over time, vision improvement will be similar for either procedure.

  1. Candidacy Criteria

Generally speaking, anyone who is a good candidate for LASIK will also be a candidate for PRK. However, a person may not be a candidate for LASIK due to individual characteristics such as thinner corneas, or steep corneas. In this case, PRK surgery might be a better an option.

PRK vs LASIK:  How Do I Choose?

Both LASIK and PRK surgery can provide similar outcomes for improving your vision. To know which type of laser vision correction is best for you, the eye doctors at our center will guide you through the decision process with their professional recommendations.

Any type of laser eye surgery requires a thorough evaluation and discussion with an eye care professional. Contact Global Laser Vision San Diego to schedule an appointment today!

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