Photorefractive kerectomy (PRK) is the original form of corrective laser eye surgery. LASIK is the more popular type of refractive surgery and was developed after PRK. Both are still used today, but LASIK is much more widely used.
Here are the top things to know about the differences between LASIK and PRK:
Both eye surgeries use a laser to reshape the cornea. This helps your eyesight by allowing light that enters the eye to be directed to the retina.
During a LASIK procedure, a doctor can get access to the cornea by making an excision near the cornea. This excision creates a flap that enables the doctor to reshape the cornea. After the cornea reshaping is complete, the flap reseals.
During the PRK, the outer layer of the cornea is removed prior to reshaping. This layer, called the epithelium, eventually grows back within a few days.
Risk and Recovery
Recovery tends to be longer with PRK because it takes a few days for the new epithelial cells to grow back and cover the surface of the eye. Because your eye is more exposed, there’s a slightly higher risk of eye infection and haziness of vision in the first few days with surgery.
With LASIK, most patients can see clearly within a few hours.
LASIK is not for everyone
Although LASIK is a more comfortable procedure with fewer risks, it’s not the best choice for everyone. Those with thinner corneal tissue may be a better candidate for PRK. The depth required to remove the thin outer layer of the cornea for PRK is about 50% less than the depth it takes to cut a flap for LASIK. Also, if you have dry eye syndrome, you may be a better candidate for PRK than LASIK.
The doctors at Center for Advanced Eye Care will talk with you and evaluate the health of your eyes and let you know which is best for you.