PRK vs LASIK. Both are common refractive surgery techniques that utilize laser vision correction to help improve eyesight. Is PRK better than LASIK? PRK has been around longer, but both are still widely used today. SoCal Eye, Long Beach’s Eye Physicians outline the differences.
The Procedure: PRK vs LASIK
PRK and LASIK are both used to modify the cornea in order to correct a patient’s vision but they use different methods to reshape the cornea tissue. In PRK the surgeon will remove the top layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium. Lasers are then used to reshape the other layers of the cornea and correct any irregular curvature in the eye. In LASIK, the eye surgeon creates a small flap in the cornea with a laser instead of removing the epithelium. The flap is gently lifted, giving the surgeon access to the cornea for laser reshaping and then lowered after the procedure is complete. The flap will heal in a short period of time.
Recovery: PRK vs LASIK
Recovery from the removal of the epithelium during PRK will take longer than the recovery creating the flap in LASIK. Full recovery with PRK will usually take about a month or so. Recovery from LASIK is faster. Vision improvement is almost immediate and the full effect of the surgery should only take a few days. Complete healing takes several months.
Following PRK, the patient will be required to wear a small bandage over the eye and may experience some light sensitivity or irritation for a few days as the epithelium heals. The bandage may be removed after about a week and during which time the patient may experience blurry vision and slight discomfort.
The patient will see an immediate improvement in vision but the full effect will be felt when the eye fully heals. The patient will likely be advised not to drive until their vision has normalized. Post-operative checkups with the doctor will be regular until the eye is fully healed.
Following LASIK surgery, the patient will experience immediate vision improvements and close to perfect vision the day after surgery. Pain and discomfort will be minimal and may be limited to a slight burning sensation in the eyes for a few hours after the surgery.
Efficacy: LASIK vs PRK:
Both PRK and LASIK are considered to be highly effective techniques in permanently correcting a patient’s vision. The main difference is the recovery time. Patients will get to experience their vision improvement faster with LASIK.
The Risks: LASIK vs PRK:
Statistics associated with PRK and LASIK demonstrate that both procedures are considered very safe. However, there are risks and downsides to both procedures and SoCal Eye Refractive Surgeons will cover them during the pre-operative consultation. This information provided below is not intended to replace a discussion with an eye doctor.
- Dry Eye: LASIK surgery can cause Dry Eye. Often times the reduced tear production is a temporary phenomenon for about six months after surgery. This dryness can sometimes be permanent.
- Glare/Halos/Night Vision: Some patients experience glare from bright lights or halos around lights, particularly at night. Overall night vision can also be effected by LASIK. In most cases this goes away after a few weeks, but can become permanent.
- LASIK Flap Complications: Issues with the corneal flap made during LASIK can lead to infections or producing too many tears. The epithelium can also heal irregularly beneath the flap, leading to visual distortion or discomfort.
- Post-Operative Discomfort: PRK is the most painful option due to the removal of the epithelium and patients usually experience pain and discomfort for several days following a PRK procedure. It also takes longer for vision to recover with PRK due to the epithelial layer removal. Patients have to wait a week or two before their vision returns fully, and some patients have to wait as long as 3-6 months.
- One Eye at a Time: Given the extended healing period for PRK, many patients choose to have the PRK procedure on one eye at a time. This also ensures they have at least partial vision during the healing period.
The Cost of PRK vs LASIK
The cost of LASIK versus PRK are effectively the same.
The Pros & Cons: PRK vs LASIK
Here are the main pros and cons of these two procedures.
SoCal Eye – PRK / LASIK, Long Beach:
The bottom line is both LASIK and PRK are good options. All treatment begins with a Consultation with a SoCal Eye PRK Specialist or LASIK Specialist in Long Beach. The Advanced SoCal Eye Evaluation is a cutting-edge consultation exam designed by our doctors. We perform an in depth analysis of the health of your eyes using state of the art equipment and expertise to determine the best option for you.
For PRK Treatment in Long Beach, Schedule an Appointment today at LAKEWOOD (562) 531-2020 | LOS ALAMITOS (562) 598-7728 or send us an Online Consultation Request