PRK and LASIK are different eye procedures, but they both serve the same goal — to help your eye focus light so you can see better. During PRK (or photorefractive keratectomy), the eye doctor uses lasers to remove your cornea's top layer and reshape the irregular curve of the cornea. This enables the cornea to regain its round shape and focus light evenly.
During LASIK (or laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses), the eye doctor creates a thin flap in your cornea using lasers. The doctor raises the flap and restores the round shape of the cornea. PRK and LASIK help correct eye problems that have to do with astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), and farsightedness (hyperopia), and both procedures are similarly safe.
Your eye doctor may recommend PRK in the following situations.
Your eye surgeon may recommend PRK treatment over LASIK if you have an unusually thin cornea. A very thin cornea can make it harder for your eye doctor to create the thin flap needed in LASIK therapy.
One of the side effects of LASIK is dry eye. This is because, when creating the flap, LASIK cuts some of the nerves that send messages to the brain to water the eyes. As a result, your eyes might not sense the need for moistness and thus end up making fewer tears.
As such, if you already suffer from dry eyes, your eye surgeon will recommend PRK to avoid making your dry eye condition worse.
FFKC is a condition where your cornea is faintly distorted, but the distortion is not obvious enough to be diagnosed as keratoconus. This usually happens when one of your eyes has been diagnosed with keratoconus. The unaffected eye may appear normal, but most eye doctors label it as an FFKC eye. They believe that keratoconus is an eye condition that affects both eyes, but one eye may not show clinical signs of the disease.
LASIK is not a better choice in this case because it thins out the cornea even further and weakens it permanently. Unlike PRK, LASIK greatly compromises the thinness of the cornea and causes keratoconus to progress faster in the FFKC eye.
If you are into collision sports, PRK may be a better choice for you. Contact sports such as boxing, rugby, field hockey, football, baseball, soccer, martial arts with attackers, or wrestling involve physical contact with much force.
The risk for eye injury is quite high if you play such sports. If your lifestyle puts you at risk for facial injuries, LASIK may not be a viable option for you. The same case applies to military workers.
To find out more about PRK and LASIK, visit Laser Vision Delaware at our office in Wilmington, Delaware. You can also call (302) 656-2020 to book an appointment today.