Did you know that three out of four people in the United States have some form of vision correction? Of these, 71 percent wear eyeglasses, and 22 percent opted for contact lenses. Thanks to advancements in modern medicine, laser eye surgery has become a safe and effective alternative, especially for those who wish to reduce their dependence on glasses or contacts.
You've heard about the well-known laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) procedure as a means to help improve eyesight. But is it better than photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), which came first? If you're wondering which method is more suitable for your case, read on to determine the difference between LASIK and PRK.
LASIK is the more popular laser eye surgical procedure to correct vision. But there's another type that may be a better option for patients who have too thin corneas for LASIK. It's called PRK, and both procedures aim to reshape the cornea and address nearsightedness and other refractive errors.
The main difference between the two laser eye surgeries is how your eye is prepared for surgery. During a LASIK procedure, your surgeon will create an incision in your cornea. This way, they can make a hinged flap, giving your surgeon access to the corneal part that needs reshaping. Once done, they will put the flap back in place.
In contrast, PRK has no flap. That's why people refer to it as LASIK without the flap. In this type of laser eye surgery, your surgeon will remove the epithelial layer, which is the thin, outermost covering of your cornea. This way, they can have access to the corneal part that needs reshaping. The outer layer regenerates naturally during your recovery period.
Another main difference between LASIK and PRK is the recovery time. After undergoing LASIK, you will likely see clearly within just a few hours. Since the outer layer needs to be removed in a PRK, it will take slightly longer to heal. After reshaping your cornea in a PRK, your surgeon will put a clear contact lens over your eye. This will serve as a bandage, which you have to wear for about five days. This way, your exposed cornea remains protected until the outer layer can regrow.
Even if LASIK involves a shorter healing period, many patients still consider PRK. This is because the latter makes it suitable for those who have a thin cornea. Patients with higher prescriptions can also benefit more from a PRK. Since it doesn't have a flap, they are an excellent option for people with ongoing dry eye issues or who lead an extremely active lifestyle. Athletes or workers at increased risk of eye injury generally consider PRK because there's no corneal flap to worry about. The flap is susceptible to damage, increasing your risk of complications. While PRK eliminates this problem, removing the outer layer of your cornea makes your eye vulnerable to infection and inflammation.
Despite these, LASIK and PRK are more similar than they are different. Nevertheless, the differences are crucial for your unique needs. Do you need more information about optical surgeries? At Laser Vision Delaware, we can assess your condition and discuss your treatment options.
Learn more about the differences between PRK vs. LASIK, contact Laser Vision Delaware in Wilmington, DE at (302) 656-2020 to schedule an appointment.