PRK Surgery and How It Differs From LASIK?

Photo Refractive Keratectomy is a laser eye surgery that is designed to correct vision problems. PRK recovery takes a bit longer than recovery from LASIK eye surgery. Both surgeries are done by changing the shape of the cornea.

Both LASIK and PRK treatment provide great visual outcomes. So why should you have to choose between PRK vs LASIK? Some patients prefer LASIK for its faster healing, and others prefer PRK for its extra safety.

What is PRK?

Photo Refractive Keratectomy is a type of refractive surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. PRK is the very first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and is the predecessor to the popular LASIK procedure. PRK recovery takes a bit longer in terms of recovery than the LASIK procedure. PRK is still commonly performed and still offers advantages over LASIK for some patients.

PRK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light that enters the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clear vision.

In PRK the thin outer layer of the cornea is removed and discarded prior to reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser. The epithelium heals itself back over the corneal surface within a few days.

PRK vs. LASIK- What’s the Difference?

In LASIK eye surgery, the eye surgeon makes an incision in the cornea to create a flap of tissue. The flap of tissue is lifted so the laser can be applied to reshape the inner layers of the cornea. The laser is computer controlled and reshapes the layers of the cornea to repair imperfections in curvature that lead to a distorted vision. The corneal flap is then placed back into place and heals over the reshaped part of the cornea in a few days.

The 2 Differences

  • 1) In the PRK procedure, the eye surgeon does not create a flap of corneal tissue but rather removes the outer layer of the cornea to expose an area for a laser to reshape. This makes PRK the best choice for people whose eyes meet a certain criteria, such as having thin corneas or dry eyes as well as a much shorter healing time as the outer layers of the cornea need time to heal.
    PRK patients are given prescription eye drops to promote healing and to reduce discomfort after eye surgery and the drops are usually prescribed for several months post surgery as it may take up to 6 months for your vision to gain absolute peak clarity and vision. Longer recovery time, discomfort during recovery and the results can take longer to manifest, maybe even 6 months.
  • 2) Only certain people are eligible for LASIK hence PRK is recommended for people who have either thin corneas, steep corneas, have a history of dry eye syndrome and people with large pupils. So anyone who is worried about flap complications can opt for PRK.

What to Expect from PRK?

You will have to have a thorough eye exam conducted on your eyes which covers the following factors:

  • The size of your eye pupils
  • How moist your eyes are, to evaluate the risk of developing dry eyes after laser eye surgery and have them treated accordingly.
  • Measuring the corneal curvature, using a corneal mapping device to measure the contours of the front surface of your eye.

Corneal thickness is also measured and taken into considerationPRK can be the best procedure under certain circumstances. Your doctor will assess all the above factors before taking the decision about whether you are a suitable candidate.

What is Right For You

The best way to getting rid of your glasses and contacts is to visit a few of your local area eye doctors for a consultation and see if you are eligible for either or both procedures. It is possible that you may be a candidate for only one or both surgical procedures; these doctors will give you their professional opinions, options, and recommendations. It is advised that you visit a couple of eye doctors in your area and their professional opinions on what to do regarding your eyes after which you can draw up your own conclusion.

To learn more about the best laser corrective procedure for you, contact our professionals at Insight Vision Center in Fresno today!

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