You might have gotten to a point where you are tired of contacts and glasses. If you’re ready for surgery, your options are PRK and LASIK. What are the pros and cons of the two different types of surgery? How are the procedures different?
Both are surgeries intended to correct refractive errors. They can treat myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. PRK and LASIK—photorefractive keratectomy and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, respectively—have helped many regain clear vision and their lives. PRK has been around for much longer, but both have earned the trust of doctors and patients alike.
PRK and LASIK both reshape the cornea using tiny blades and lasers. However, they are different in some critical ways. In PRK, the surgeon extracts the topmost layer of the cornea.
In LASIK, the surgeon creates a flap to open the cornea's layers, then closes the flap again after the treatment.
The doctor gives you numbing eye drops and medication to help you relax
The surgeon removes the epithelium, the top layer of the cornea
The surgeon uses an excimer laser to correct the distortions in the cornea's inner layers
The surgeon puts a bandage-like contact lens over the cornea to help the tissues heal
The doctor gives you numbing eye drops
Using a femtosecond laser, the surgeon makes a flap in the epithelium. They move this flap aside, then reshape the other layers with lasers. The surgeon may have the epithelium flap attached back into place
The surgeon uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct issues with the eye's curvature
The surgeon puts the epithelium flap back over the cornea so that it heals with the other tissues
LASIK recovery time is much shorter than PRK. PRK's initial recovery time is two to three days. LASIK lets you go back to your daily activities the next day. It barely involves any pain during recovery.
PRK patients sometimes report mild pain and discomfort in their recovery during the first and second days. They would use eye drops and oral painkillers to help manage the pain.
You will take longer to get your clear vision back with PRK than with LASIK. It can take about a month to see clearly with PRK, but it can take just a few hours to a day with LASIK. For this reason, PRK surgery on different eyes is done a month or two apart.
Doctors consider PRK and LASIK to be safe procedures with side effects that vary from person to person. Some patients report that glare, halo, and double vision worsened in one eye. PRK is less risky than LASIK. This is so because its corneal flap procedure entails no risk. LASIK comes with a one percent chance of flap complications when an experienced surgeon performs it.
Dr. Minkovitz performs PRK because he strongly believes in the safety and accuracy of it over LASIK.
For more on why does PRK have less risk than LASIK, visit Laser Vision Delaware at our office in Wilmington, Delaware. You can also call (302) 656 2020 to book an appointment today.