If you are considering laser eye surgery, there are a number of options to consider. Two of the most well known procedures are LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy). Both procedures have their pros and cons, and your eye doctor can help you determine which type of surgery is best for you based on your specific situation.
When it comes to comparing LASIK vs. PRK, the procedures have both similarities and differences. LASIK and PRK areboth refractive eye surgeries that can be used to correct the following vision issues:
- Myopia (nearsightedness).
- Hyperopia (farsightedness).
- Astigmatism (distorted or blurry vision).
Both procedures use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, so that when light enters the eye it is focusing properly on the retina, resulting in clear vision. The eye surgeon sculpts what is known as the stromal layer of the cornea to achieve the desired vision correction.
How does PRK differ from LASIK?
PRK was the first laser eye surgery approved for vision correction, and LASIK came on the scene later. As far as differences are concerned, with LASIK eye surgery, the surgeon cuts a thin flap on the cornea to get to the treatment area. After the correction has been completed the flap is replaced.
With PRK eye surgery, the surgeon removes the entire outer (epithelial) layer of the cornea to access the treatment area. After the surgery, the eye naturally heals and grows a new epithelial layer.
Another version of PRK is LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis) eye surgery. As with PRK, the epithelial layer of the cornea is removed, but with LASEK it is preserved and replaced after surgery. For patients with thinner corneas, PRK and LASEK are typically the preferred option vs. LASIK.However, both PRK and LASEK require longer healing times than LASIK, which is one of the reasons many patients opt for LASIK.
What are the other pros and cons in the LASIK PRK debate?
Along with a faster recovery, LASIK patients typically experience less discomfort than PRK patients. They also have a lower risk for infection and other side effects such as inflammation and hazy vision. In addition, vision typically stabilizes more quickly in LASIK patients.
With PRK, the surgeon does have access to the entire thickness of the stroma vs. what is accessible with the LASIK flap. For patients with thinner corneas or those who have previously undergone a LASIK procedure, this extra access may be necessary to achieve optimal results.
While rare, there can be complications with the corneal flap with a LASIK procedure. Also, with PRK there is less likelihood of removing too much of the cornea with the excimer laser as compared to LASIK.
Choose an Experienced Surgeon
It’s important to note, that both PRK and LASIK are highly successful, low-risk surgeries that provide most patients with significant vision correction. Because every patient’s eyes are unique, it’s best to seek out a highly qualified, experienced eye surgeon such as Cary M. Silverman, LASIK M.D.
Dr. Silverman has performed thousands of corrective vision surgeries during his career, and he can recommend the type of surgery and treatment protocol, which is best for your individual situation. If you would like to learn more about LASIK surgery call us today at (973) 560-1500 to schedule a free consultation or fill out the quick contact form on the left. We will get back to you as soon as possible because helping patients is our #1 priority.
Information from the FDA about LASIK: