Reviewed by Dr. Larry Henry, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Both PRK and Lasik create very similar outcomes, however, there are disadvantages and advantages to both surgeries. The short answer - PRK is better for SOME people,and Lasik is better for most.
Lasik is a common refractive surgery; refractive surgery is a vision correction procedure that will change the way light enters through the eye.To modify how light enters through the eye, Lasik uses an excimer laser to change the shape of the cornea. By changing the shape of the cornea, lasik can fix - nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Lasik is a very common procedure. The surgery has a very low complication rate, and patients can restore their vision in both eyes during the same surgery.
Dr. Britton, M.D. has preformed well over 17,000 lasik procedures. He has even restored vision through lasik with his own family members, referring doctors, and even his own eyesight!
Before Lasik, PRK was the most common refractive surgery procedure. PRK also reshapes the cornea through the use of the excimer laser and fixes - nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK is very safe and stable procedure; the surgery is FDA approved, and is a great option for qualified patients.
The outcome of the surgery is very similar to Lasik, although due to a difference in how the procedure is preformed, PRK is better suited for certain types of patients.
Before the excimer laser begins to reshape the cornea on both PRK and Lasik part of the cornea must be removed. Your cornea is made up of epithelium and stroma. Epithelium is on the outer layer of the cornea, and is able to replace itself overtime. The stroma is located beneath the epithelium and is permanent corneal tissue with very limited regenerating properties.
The main difference between the two surgeries is how much epithelium and stroma is removed before the excimer laser begins to reshape the cornea.
Lasik creates a flap to remove both epithelium and stroma from the cornea, before the excimer laser can begin. Once the laser is finished the flap is placed back onto the eye. While PRK no flap is created and does not remove the stroma, but the epithelial cells are completely removed.
In other words, Lasik requires more of the cornea to be used during surgery, while PRK uses less of the cornea, but the part that it does use is completely removed.
Because it only removes the outerlayer (epithelium) and not the under layer (stroma), PRK is great for patients who have:
Also, if you participate in a contact sport, or have a physically demanding job then PRK may be better suited for you. High contact athletes who undergo Lasik are at a higher risk for complications.
During Lasik a flap of a section of the cornea, and placed back over the eye once the surgery is completed. Patients who undergo lasik have improved vision immediately or within the next few days.
However, PRK removes all of the outer layer of the cornea. thus the eye must regenerate the outer layer before vision is improved. You will likely experience hazy vision during the recovery process.
Recovery Time - a PRK patient will have mild to moderate discomfort during the first 3 days after the surgery. Then, the discomfort will gradually reduce over the next few days to weeks.
After the surgery, you will receive a temporary bandage to protect your eye while it regenerates the outer layer.
Due to its shorter recovery time, Lasik for the majority of patients, is the better choice. However, PRK best advantages is it does not require much of the cornea, thus making it the best choice for patients with thin corneas, large pupils, irregular astigmatism, or people involved in contact sports/jobs.
Although before making the decision, this is a conversation to have with your eye doctor. Your doctor will examine your eyes to look the best procedure for you.
Here at BVA Advanced Eye Care we strive to create better vision ahead. Lasik, and PRK are great options for patients who want to gain their independence from glasses or contacts. We have conducted many procedures for both lasik and PRK. Both are great options but the first step is speaking with BVA, or your eye doctor, to find the best option for you.
For more information please contact BVA through our website
or give us at call at 1-888-323-3937