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PRK vs LASIK: What's the Difference?

By:
Carolinas Centers For Sight, P.C.
|
November 27, 2019

The allure of laser eye surgery leads many people to decide to take the plunge and get rid of their glasses or contacts forever. However, the process is easier said than done, and many patients are surprised to learn that there are multiple options when it comes to correcting their vision. Most have heard of LASIK, but prior to this revolutionary process, the more common option was PRK.

While LASIK is often the more recognizable choice, there are still plenty of people who undergo PRK instead. What’s the difference between these two and why would someone want to choose one type of procedure over the other? Let’s review the similarities and differences between the two and find out which might be a more appropriate option for your visual needs.

The Basics Of LASIK

Considered to be the more advanced option for patients, LASIK allows ophthalmologists the opportunity to correct someone’s vision and have them recover in just a few short days. With LASIK, a flap is created on the cornea with a laser and then lifted up to allow access to the inner portions of the eye. Another laser is used to reshape the cornea before the flap is put back into place.

LASIK is quick and painless and while the recovery time is short, not everyone is a candidate for it. Certain people’s prescriptions aren’t compatible with the procedure while others have a cornea that’s too thin and wouldn’t allow for a successful surgery. Still, this option has served more than 10 million people in theUnited States since it was first approved by the FDA in 1999.

What About PRK?

In some ways, undergoing PRK is a similar experience, except that instead of using a laser to create a flap on the cornea, an entire layer of the cornea is actually removed.The rest of the procedure is essentially the same yet at the end, a bandage contact lens is placed over the eye to aid in the healing process. Recovering from PRK takes slightly longer as the cornea needs time to repair itself and regrow.

Although PRK does take more time to recover from, there are distinct advantages to this option.Patients with thinner corneas who may not be suitable for LASIK may still be able to correct their eyesight with PRK, and there’s a lesser risk for infection or complications due to the differences in the procedure. The healing time for PRK can involve a bit more discomfort, but overall, many patients find that they prefer this option compared to LASIK.

Which Is Right For You?

In most cases, patients will experience the same set of incredible benefits from either PRK orLASIK, but your lifestyle and pre-surgery eyesight will largely dictate which option is more suitable for you. If you’re interested in saying goodbye to glasses or contact lenses for good, speak with your ophthalmologist about laser eye surgery to determine the best options for you. Whether you choose to undergo PRK or LASIK, you can expect great vision after these straightforward and revolutionary procedures.

This post was updated on:
November 27, 2019

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Samuel E. Seltzer, MD formed his practice in South Carolina in 1989 and has endeavored to provide the most technologically advanced eye care center. Well-known and widely-respected, Dr. Seltzer specializes in bladeless femto laser and small incision cataract surgery.

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