Recovering from Neck Pain

PRK And LASIK: What Is The Difference And What Corrective Surgery Is Right For Me?

by Janet Burns

If you are near or farsighted, you might have considered either PRK or LASIK surgery to correct your vision problem. Before you decide, you should understand both the PRK procedure, as well as the LASIK procedure, as well as the differences so that you can properly choose the best surgery for you.

What is PRK?

Photorefractive Keratectomy, or simply PRK, is a medical procedure that is used to cure problems associated with your vision. The process makes use of laser surgery, but it has the advantage of not having any incisions or cuts. It is mainly used to solve problems of nearsightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism.

During the procedure, the ophthalmologist will scrape away, or even remove, the surface coating of your eye. This helps them have easier access to the cornea, the area of your eye that needs to be operated on. The doctor will then reshape the exposed cornea to correct the imperfections in the curvature of the cornea. This correction serves to correct the existing anomalies in vision that you may be experiencing.

What are the Advantages of PRK?

Some prefer the Photorefractive Keratectomy procedure since it does not involve any cuts or piercing to the eye. It is also a preferred method by those who have thin corneal covering membrane as, well as those with naturally dry eyes.

What is LASIK?

Laser assisted in situ Keratomileusis, or LASIK, is also an eye correction procedure. It is very close to PRK in terms of its methodology and process. Medical researchers came up with this process as a way of managing some problems associated with PRK.

During an LASIK operation, the surface membrane on the cornea is made soft with an alcohol solution. An incision is then made in the form of a flap. The flap is then raised to expose the inner parts of your cornea, which is to be targeted with a laser for reshaping and hence correction of your sight.

What are the Advantages of LASIK?

LASIK has been praised for its short recovery time. Patients see improvement and improved sight in a matter of hours. Healing from LASIK also does not require as much medicine as PRK, and it requires no oral relief drugs since it is a painless procedure. Most patients can return to normal functioning the following day without complications.

The Differences Between PRK and LASIK

These procedures serve the same purpose of correcting defective vision. The most noticeable differences are found in recovery time, with the eye completely healing after about three days after the LASIK surgery. The Longer period of healing associated with PRK is due to the length of times it takes for the scrapped epithelial cells to grow back.

The initial irritation caused to the eyes is another point of difference between the procedures. PRK is known to cause a slight level of discomfort, as opposed to LASIK. The mechanism that is used to hold the eyes open, as well as the scrapping off of the epithelial membrane, usually causes the discomfort that comes from PRK.

Another difference is in the procedures themselves. During LASIK, a roll is made on the cornea to allow access to the inner parts of the cornea. However, in PRK the surface is mechanically scraped, using appropriate medical techniques, before commencing the laser procedure.

Which Corrective Surgery Procedure is Right for Me?

There are various factors you need to consider before making a final judgment on which surgery you will have. One important consideration is the  type cornea you have – either scarred, thick, thin, rounded, flat, watery or dry. Another factor is related to the healing time. You may not have ample time at the time of the procedure, and hence LASIK would be the optimal choice.

If you are considering corrective surgery, consult with your ophthalmologist. Together you can decide which surgery option will be the best fit for your particular situation.