PRK versus LASIK comparison

PRK vs LASIK, which one should you choose?

Tired of fiddling with bulky glasses or irritating contacts? Well, it’s no surprise that you could be a candidate for corrective eye surgery. However, before you run off to the doctor, it’s important to consider the options you have available. LASIK -- Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis -- is a very popular option, but it’s only one of several; Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK surgery, is also a popular and viable option, and may even be a preferred option for some. PRK vs LASIK is an often debated topic in the ophthalmological world. These two forms of surgery help to correct vision, but are carried out in different ways.


Here’s a quick PRK vs LASIK discussion to help assist in your decision.

Both PRK and LASIK came about in the 1980s and were approved by the FDA during the 1990s. PRK surgery involves the dilution and removal of part of the epithelium: a thin, fast-growing layer on the outside of the cornea. This allows access to the inner layers of the cornea, called the stroma. An ultraviolet laser is then used on the stroma for the purpose of reshaping the cornea. The reshaping is done through corneal ablation; that is to say, the cornea is eroded (it doesn’t grow back) in such a way as to improve vision. LASIK, the more popular of the two options, follows a similar procedure, but differs when it comes to the removal of the epithelium; in LASIK, rather than removing this layer of the cornea, a permanent flap is created in the deeper layers of the cornea, using either a laser or a very small blade. After the ablation process, the flap is repositioned and held in place through natural adhesiveness.

With PRK, no cuts are made, but the process of removing parts of the epithelium may result in more pain and an increased recovery time; while LASIK many only take days, healing from PRK can take anywhere from days to months. And, while parts of the epithelium grow back, that recovery may be marked by greater amounts of pain than a recovery from LASIK. On the other hand, as previously stated, the flap created by LASIK -- the flap that makes recovery so easy – is a permanent addition. Many individuals with thin corneas are recommended against having LASIK, as the flap may affect the structural integrity of their eye. Additionally, you are left with the potential for flap-dislocation, a painful condition with the potential to affect vision. And though this is an injury most commonly associated with trauma to the eye, there are numerous accounts of people with detached or dislocated corneal flaps even years after surgery; at any rate, if your job or extra-curricular activities (MMA, racquetball, etc.) have the potential for eye-related injuries, you might be a better candidate for PRK surgery. Of course, both surgeries have the potential for side effects: dry eyes, pain, scarring, increased ablation, glare, sensitivity, or a recurrence of near or far-sightedness.



While corrective eye surgery may seem to be the miracle you’re looking for, it’s important to be able to make an informed decision on both the best option and the potential temporary (or permanent) side-effects. PRK vs LASIK – which one will you choose?


The difference between PRK vs LASIK in actual surgery.

Difference between PRK and LASIK

From the Image

As you can see, PRK corrective eye surgery does not actually physically cut open your eyes. LASIK, on the other hand, does so.

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