When you make the decision to seriously consider having LASIK vision correction, you may be frustrated if you learn the procedure is not right for your eyes. However, that frustration may turn into renewed excitement if your eye doctor informs you that PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a better option – especially when you learn that you can achieve the same vision results with PRK.
How PRK Differs from LASIK
At the heart of the procedure, both LASIK and PRK involve the use of an excimer laser to remove tiny amounts of corneal tissue to create a more ideal shape and correct a refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism). This allows light to focus on the retina for clear vision.
How your PRK doctor accesses this corneal tissue is where the two procedures differ:
- LASIK: your doctor creates a hinged corneal flap that is folded back for excimer laser treatment and then replaced on the cornea where it begins to heal immediately. There is a risk of flap complications with LASIK.
- PRK: your doctor removes a thin layer of tissue on the cornea (the epithelium). After the excimer laser treatment is complete, the epithelium needs time to grow back, which typically takes 3-5 days.
Both PRK and LASIK are outpatient procedures. PRK will take slightly longer than LASIK, but the treatment is still typically under 30 minutes for most patients.
The recovery time for PRK is typically longer than with LASIK because of this regrowth period, and you may experience more discomfort during the healing process. Your final vision outcome will also take longer but 20/20 vision is often achieved with this procedure.
So, which is better: PRK or LASIK?
The answer to this question depends on your eye anatomy and eye health. Only a qualified, experienced ophthalmologist can perform the level of assessment needed to identify the right treatment for you. The doctors at Tidewater Eye Centers can do just that…and we’ll do it for free.
Contact us today to schedule your free PRK Consultation.