What are PRK and LASIK? PRK refers to photorefractive keratectomy and LASIK to laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. PRK is an older laser surgery technique than LASIK, but both help improve eyesight.
The cornea has five thin and transparent layers of tissue. These bend or refract light so you can see. PRK and LASIK modify the cornea by reshaping its tissue. This helps correct any abnormalities and restore vision. The two techniques correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
In this technique, the surgeon takes away the upper layer of the cornea called the epithelium. The surgeon then uses the laser to reshape the other layers. This helps fix any irregular curvature of the corneal surface. Once the surgery is over, the upper layer is not put back. Instead, the surgeon puts a special contact lens like a bandage on the cornea. This helps the cornea to heal, and the epithelium grows back again.
Here, surgeons use a laser or a microkeratome to create a thin flap in your cornea. They raise the flap and use the laser to reshape the underlying layers. They would then put the flap back in place, and it heals over a few months.
The main advantage of the LASIK procedure over PRK is the recovery time. LASIK heals faster, and patients report being able to see even within a few days. However, PRK is safer than LASIK, especially in the following circumstances.
One of the main side effects of LASIK is causing dry eye. The condition can last for up to six months. If you already have dry eye, this can complicate your surgery. However, PRK is a better choice if you have dry eye. The contact lens bandage protects the cornea, and the anti-inflammatory eye drops help hydrate it.
If you have an active lifestyle, then PRK is the best procedure. This is because the epithelial flap that covers the eye after the LASIK procedure might get loose. Discuss your lifestyle with your doctor before the procedure.
If your prescription is high, then the best procedure is PRK. This is because LASIK requires you to have enough cornea to allow for good structural reshaping. There is a deficit usually seen in individuals with a high corrective prescription.
LASIK requires a flap to help in the healing process. The reshaping using the laser also requires enough tissue to work with. This makes patients with thin corneas very hard to work with during LASIK. The preferable procedure is PRK since it does not leave a flap on your cornea. Thus, it is much safer and more effective than LASIK in the long run.
PRK may take longer to heal than LASIK, but the results are the same. This is true when a competent surgeon does the procedure. PRK is also cheaper overall than LASIK.
For more on PRK and LASIK, visit Laser Vision Delaware at our office in Wilmington, Delaware. You can call (302) 656-2020 today to schedule an appointment.