PRK vs. LASIK: What’s the Difference?

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Author: The LASIK Vision Institute

LASIK is the most well-known laser vision correction procedure, but there are other types of laser eye surgery too. Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) is another type of laser eye surgery procedure. For some people, eye structure can make PRK a more desired option, and may be your doctor’s recommendation if your corneas are too thin to perform LASIK.

The end goal of any laser eye surgery is to promote better vision. PRK eye surgery was actually developed before LASIK, but both procedures are still in use today. Both PRK and LASIK are focused on reshaping the cornea, which affects how the eye focuses light. The aim of both procedures is to address vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by gently reshaping the cornea with a laser.

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The PRK & LASIK Procedure

The big difference between LASIK and PRK laser eye surgery is how the eye is prepared for surgery. With LASIK, the surgeon creates a hinged flap by making an incision in the cornea. This flap gives the surgeon access to the part of the cornea that needs to be reshaped. Once the procedure is finished, the surgeon will put the flap back in place.

With PRK, there is no flap. Instead, the thin, outermost layer of the cornea, called the epithelial layer, is removed to provide the necessary access to the part of the cornea that the doctor reshapes with the laser. This outer layer regenerates naturally during the healing process.

The PRK & LASIK Recovery

Healing occurs quickly after LASIK surgery, while PRK takes a little longer to heal. Patients often report more discomfort from having PRK than from having LASIK, but it is temporary, while your eye is healing. While the healing time is different between the two procedures, the expected results over time are the same.

PRK and LASIK are more alike than they are different, but the differences are important. If the incision required to create a LASIK flap isn’t right for your unique needs, PRK may provide another option for laser vision correction. As always, please remember that it is crucial to speak with your LASIK surgeon before making any decision on how to proceed with any laser vision correction procedure.

Call today to schedule your free LASIK consultation and determine if laser eye surgery is right for you.  The LASIK Vision Institute has performed over one million procedures and offers convenient, nationwide locations!