THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LASIK AND PRK
If you’re currently researching your vision correction options, you may have heard of procedures such as LASIK and PRK among others. Both of these surgeries are very reliable and effective, but they have a number of important differences as well.
Understanding the LASIK versus PRK comparison begins with a basic overview of the conditions that they seek to address. For example, both treatments correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Put in the most basic of terms, these issues arise when light is not being properly focused by the eye’s lens.
LASIK VS PRK
When it comes to Laser Vision Correction, PRK came before LASIK. While this might seem like a disadvantage, PRK is still performed on a regular basis and it provides distinct advantages for certain patients. Having said that, both LASIK and PRK reshape the cornea with an excimer laser.
The LASIK versus PRK comparison largely differs when addressing the actual reshaping process. During LASIK procedures, the surgeon creates a thin hinged flap on the cornea to gain access to the treatment area, while in PRK your surgeon removes a thin portion of the outer (epithelial) layer without creating a flap.
So what does this mean for a patient and why would someone choose one over the other? LASIK is more commonly used because it has a much shorter recovery time (most patients are driving the next day and return to work within days ) as opposed to up to PRK where patients typically take 3-5 days off of work and up to 1-3 months to fully recover. LASIK patients also experience less discomfort. PRK is used when LASIK isn’t feasible – for example, when a patient has thinner corneal tissue or a stronger prescription. It’s also a potential option when a patient’s pupils are large enough to make LASIK difficult or risky.
Fortunately, both procedures have a high success rate. The Eye Surgery Education Council (ESEC) reports that less than 1% experience serious problems after proper screening and 3-5% experience minor, correctable problems. Finally, clinical studies found that 98% of patients in their sample had 20/20 vision one year after the procedure!