Both PRK and LASIK eye surgeries are methods for correcting the shape of the cornea, so what makes the two different procedures unique from one another?
Photorefractive Keratectomy Eye Surgery
Photorefractive Keratectomy eye surgery, more commonly known as PRK, is the original laser-based procedure that was developed for correcting vision by altering the shape of the cornea. It is especially effective for patients who suffer from nearsightedness. Despite the fact that LASIK was developed afterwards, PRK is still commonly performed by doctors around the world.
From a technical standpoint, the most significant difference between the two procedures is that PRK laser surgery begins with the doctor removing an outer layer (epithelium) of the cornea in order to expose the inner layers or the cornea. Then, they have access to the area that they can reshape with the aid of a laser. Recovery time is generally longer than LASIK as the outer cornea layer requires more time to heal completely. Patients use prescription eye-drops to help the cornea to heal, and also have anti-inflammatory qualities that reduce pain.
LASIK Eye Surgery
Laser-assisted-in-situ keratomileusis surgery, also known as the catchy acronym LASIK, is the newer of the two laser-assisted corneal corrective surgical procedures. In contrast to PRK, where a layer of the outer cornea is completely removed, the LASIK procedure involves a surgeon opening a flap of corneal tissue via a small incision.
Following this incision, the cornea can be reshaped by the laser much as it is in PRK. Once this has been completed, the corneal flap is replaced and can begin to heal. Due to the fact the the outer cornea was not completely removed from the eye during the procedure, recovery time is generally shorter when compared with PRK surgery.
Who makes a good candidate for PRK surgery?
PRK is a safe and effective procedure that can help people with several different eye conditions. In patients that are not candidates for LASIK (thin corneas, dry eyes, irregularly shaped corneas, etc.) PRK maybe a good option. If you have mild to moderate astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness you may benefit from undergoing the PRK procedure. It has been proven to be especially effective at reversing the effects of nearsightedness, and many patients report 20/20 vision with no optical aids several months after the procedure. Once fully healed, the visual results of PRK are equivalent to LASIK.
Take control of your eye health
If you think that PRK surgery or LASIK can improve your vision and help you lead a fuller life, schedule a consultation with the eye professionals at Florida Eye Specialists. One of our experienced laser eye surgery experts will work with you to determine which procedure is right for you, and tell you more about what to expect before, during, and after your surgery.