Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are laser surgeries that improve your eyesight by modifying your cornea. The cornea consists of five transparent layers of tissues that bend and focus light for better vision.
Either of the techniques is used to resolve eye issues like:
• Myopia (nearsightedness): The inability to see objects in a distance clearly
• Hyperopia (farsightedness): The inability to see nearby objects clearly
• Astigmatism: Irregular eye shape that causes blurry vision
How Do These Procedures Work?
The main aim of these procedures is to reshape and correct the cornea tissue. But both surgeries use different methods.
• PRK removes the outer layer of your cornea that grows back over time
• LASIK creates a flap to allow an opening to the tissue, and then it’s closed after the procedure
They both have their share of pros and cons. Consult a doctor about which one will suit your needs.
➢ What Happens During LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery can be done either in a doctor’s office or outpatient surgery center. The surgery usually gets done within 30 minutes for both eyes.
• The surgeon will first clean and numb your eye tissues with eye drops.
• A suction ring is placed in your eyes to prevent you from blinking. This will cause your vision to go dark briefly.
• The surgeon will then use a laser called the femtosecondlaser. This tool is used to make a small flap in your cornea.
• The cut will help the surgeon move the layer aside, and then your cornea is reshaped with the laser.
• Once your cornea is reshaped, the flap is folded back in place. The flap will seal up on its own after healing.
➢ What Happens During PRK?
The PRK surgery is carried in an outpatient surgery center. It takes about 15 minutes for the surgery to be done for both eyes.
• Drops are used to numb your eyes. A special eyelid holder is placed on your eyes to prevent you from blinking.
• The top layer of your cornea tissue is removed with a laser, blade, or alcohol-based liquid.
• An excimer laser is used to fix irregularities in the deeper corneal tissue layers.
• Once the surgery is done, you’re given a bandage similar to a contact lens. This helps in healing the tissue.
How Do You Prepare for These Procedures?
Before the procedure, the eye doctor will examine your eyes and check your vision. Your cornea and pupil are also measured.
Moreover, the doctor will advise you to stop wearing your contact lens anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks before the surgery. This depends on the type of lens you wear.
Don’t wear any eye makeup or cream around your eyes on the day of the surgery. You need to have someone by your side to take you home since you won’t be able to drive post-surgery.
What Does the Recovery Look Like?
The surgery may feel uncomfortable, and you may also notice some vision changes since the surgeon will be modifying your eye tissue. But there won’t be any pain since you’ll be given numbing eye drops.
➢ LASIK Recovery
Recovery from LASIK is faster than recovery from PRK. Most patients can resume their daily activities by the next day. You’ll have a clear vision soon after the surgery.
There won’t be major discomfort or pain as your eyes heal. However, there’ll be minor burning in your eyes after a few hours post-surgery butnothing to worry about as you’ll be fine soon. To soothe the irritation, you’ll be given medicated eye drops.
➢ PRK Recovery
A contact-like bandage will be placed over your eyes post-surgery. It may cause irritation and light sensitivity for a few days.Even your vision will be burry until the bandage is removed after a week.
You’ll be recommended medicated eye drops to keep your eyes moist. You’ll also be given medications if there’s any discomfort or pain.
The entire healing process will take approximately one month. Be prepared for your vision to worsen a bit after the surgery. But don’t worry, it’s a part of the healing process.
Your vision will get better each day, and you’ll have to see the doctor for regular checkups until full recovery.
What’s the Cost of the Surgery?
In general, both procedures may cost you anywhere between $2,500-$5,000. However, PRK may be a little costlier since more post-surgery checkups are required. They’re not usually covered in health insurance plans because they’re elective surgeries.
While discounted and lower prices are always tempting, you’ve to keep in mind that these are your eyes. You shouldn’t ever take a chance with them.
What Are the Pros and Cons of LASIK?
Here are the pros and cons of LASIK surgery:
• There’s quick recovery; almost less than 4 days
• Can resume daily activities after a day of the surgery
• No need for stitches or bandages
• Fewer follow-up appointments and medications
• High success rate
• Vision is improved almost instantly
• Not suitable for people with a thin cornea
• Increased risk of complications with the corneal flap
• Greater risk of poor night vision
• Higher chances of dry eye
• Not recommended for people with a risk of eye injury
What Are the Pros and Cons of PRK?
Here are the pros and cons of PRK surgery:
• Have a long history of successful cases
• No complications with the corneal flap
• Lesser chances of long-term complications
• High success rate
• Better for patients with a thin cornea
• Longer recovery time; usually 30 days
• Requires bandage that needs to be removed
• Must book regular checkups until complete recovery
• Can’t go out in the sun for at least a month
• Must wait for a week to drive• Increased risk of eye infection
• Discomfort lasts for several weeks
Which One is More Effective?
Both surgeries are equally effective when it comes to permanently correcting your vision. But the main difference lies in the recovery time.
LASIK takes only a few days, while PRK requires at least a month. The result won’t differ.
LASIK and PRK are equally safe and effective in correcting your vision problems. However, before considering any of these options, take note of the recovery time.
LASIK might be your option if you’re someone with an active lifestyle since you’ve a clear vision faster!
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.