PRK vs LASIK
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) are two of the most popular and effective refractive eye surgeries available today. If you're considering vision correction, it's essential to understand the differences and similarities between these two procedures. PRK and LASIK both aim to improve vision and reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses, but they employ distinct techniques in achieving these goals. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the unique characteristics, benefits, and considerations of both PRK and LASIK, helping you make an informed decision about which procedure aligns best with your visual needs and preferences.
PRK (Photo Refractive Keratomileusis) is very similar to LASIK in that it is also a Laser driven procedure used to correct a patient’s vision. PRK has been around longer than the LASIK procedure and has been performed on thousands of patients worldwide. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is the first step of the procedures.
In PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed and discarded prior to reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with the laser. A soft contact lens is inserted to act as a bandage through healing. The epithelium repairs itself (grows back over the corneal surface) within a few days after surgery. PRK does typically have a longer recovery time of 2 or 3 days where some patients experience mild to moderate pain during recovery. You will be able to see clearly and achieve excellent visual acuity about a month after the procedure. PRK candidates may be older, have thinner corneas, or lead active lifestyles. It is also suggested for law enforcement and other active jobs due to the fact that there is no flap that could get dislodged in the future which is why PRK is considered slightly less risky.
In LASIK, a thin flap is created on the cornea with a different laser. This flap is lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue and is replaced after the cornea is reshaped with a laser. Afterwards, the flap is then placed back to heal. LASIK comes with a shorter recovery time, with most patients being able to see clearly and achieving excellent visual acuity only a few hours after the procedure or the next day. Patients typically experience little to no pain in the recovery after LASIK. Candidates may be younger, have less eye issues, and prefer more downtime in their lifestyles. LASIK is considered slightly more risky because of possible flap complications, however those account for less than 1% of procedures. LASIK is typically recommended for those in the military and pilots due to the ability to resume normal activities quickly.
Both LASIK and PRK are about 15-20 minute outpatient procedures that yield extremely high patient satisfaction results. Both can correct farsightedness, astigmatism, and mild to moderate nearsightedness. During your free consultation, measurements will be taken and your options will be discussed where a recommendation will be given to you about the procedure that best fits your lifestyle and needs.
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