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What’s the difference between LASIK & PRK
Differences between LASIK & PRK
The definitive difference between LASIK and PRK is that, in LASIK, a flap must be created in your cornea and, in PRK, no flap is made. PRK was the first laser eye surgery approved for vision correction, and LASIK came on the scene later. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is in the first step of the procedure.
For patients with thinner corneas, PRK is typically the preferred option vs. LASIK. However, PRK requires a longer healing time than LASIK. Other differences between the procedures include:
- Laser energy is applied under a corneal flap
- Feeling of pressure during the procedure
- Experience a mild foreign body sensation in the eye for 3 hours after procedure
- Often clear vision within 24 hours of procedure
- Laser energy is applied to the surface of the eye
- Faster procedure with little or no pressure felt
- Some irritation is felt for about 3 days after procedure
- Clear vision obtained more gradually as eye heals
While rare, there can be complications with the corneal flap with a LASIK procedure. Since no flap is made with PRK these theoretical risks do not exist with PRK.
With PRK, the surgeon does have access to the entire thickness of the stroma vs. what is accessible with the LASIK flap. This is because the flap is much thicker than the epithelial layer removed with PRK. For patients with thinner corneas, LASIK could thin the cornea too much and thereby weaken its structural integrity. This could lead to an irregular shape of the cornea and blurred vision even with eyeglasses.
Numerous scientific studies have documented the fact that in the end there is no difference in the visual results from LASIK and PRK. After all, they utilize the same excimer laser to change the shape of the cornea. Our patients have been extremely happy with both procedures.
Should you have LASIK or PRK?
Both LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are well-known procedures that are used to correct vision issues. The only way to find out which procedure is best for you is by scheduling a free LASIK consultation. We will assess your corneal thickness, corneal strength, orbital anatomy, and overall eye health to determine which procedure would be the safest and most effective method for vision correction.