The Differences Between LASIK and PRK Surgery
the differences between lasik and prk surgery

The Differences Between LASIK and PRK Surgery

October 13, 2020

LASIK surgery is a very common laser procedure for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK is well known and very popular but, despite that, is not ideal for every person’s issues. Neither is LASIK your only available option to treat astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. The less well-known procedure called PRK is another good, but different, option suitable for many people.

To help you make an informed decision about the most appropriate procedure to improve your eyesight and to help you work through your conversations with your eye doctor,  here’s essential information about both LASIK and PRK procedures.

What are PRK and LASIK eye surgeries?

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) are laser eye surgeries performed at eye clinics near you to treat astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. LASIK is a much newer surgical procedure than PRK. They both change the shape of your cornea to correct your impaired vision. Your cornea is made up of five layers of eye tissue that focus light entering your eye onto your retina. By reshaping your cornea, PRK and LASIK surgeries re-shape your cornea to ensure that the light is shaped exactly as required to ensure the correct vision.

What happens during PRK eye surgery near you?

Eye surgeons in Calgary remove the epithelium layer of your cornea during PRK surgery. Once the epithelium is removed, your surgeon will use a laser to change the shape of the layers of the cornea that lay beneath the epithelium. Reshaping those lasers corrects how light is focused onto your retina, and how clearly you see.

To ensure you’re completely relaxed — but still awake — and will experience no pain during your PRK procedure, your eye doctor will give you a series of numbing eye drops and a sedative. The procedure is completed very quickly. The surgeon removes the epithelium layer in 30 seconds. After that, the eye surgeon will use an excimer laser to repair the other layers of your cornea over the course of an additional half minute to minute. Once the surgery is complete, your eye surgeon will give you a specialized bandage akin to a contact lens to wear over your cornea.

What happens during LASIK?

In the same way as before you undergo PRK surgery, the LASIK procedure will begin only after you receive a sedative to help you relax and numbing eye drops to ensure you feel no pain.

Unlike PRK surgery, LASIK eye surgery in Calgary does not involve the removal of any layer of your cornea. Instead, the surgeon cuts a tiny flap in your cornea, then lifts that flap. Once the flap is cut into your cornea and lifted, the surgeon will use lasers to reshape the exposed cornea. Once the alterations to your cornea have been completed, the flap will be laid back down onto the treated area.

The main difference between the procedures is recovery time

Recovering from PRK eye surgery takes longer than recovering from LASIK. Recovering from PRK surgery takes approximately one month. After your PRK surgery, you will wear your contact-like bandage for a week. While wearing it, you may experience some irritation and some blurred vision. To keep your eyes moist as you heal, your eye doctor will prescribe you with eye drops. Immediately after the PRK surgery is complete, you’ll notice your vision will be better almost immediately before worsening again then gradually improving as you heal. Throughout your recovery from PRK or LASIK surgery, you’ll see your eye doctor from time to time. Your doctor may advise you not to drive until your eyes have fully recovered.

Is PRK or LASIK better for resolving your eyesight problems? While there are important differences in techniques and recovery time between the two procedures, the biggest factor in opting between the procedures often boils down to three factors: how thick is your cornea; how your cornea is curved; and whether or not there is any scarring on your cornea. After carefully examining your eyes, reviewing your medical history, and answering any questions you have, the eye surgeon in Calgary will make a recommendation as to the best procedure and help you make an informed decision.

As you consider your options — PRK versus LASIK eye surgery — don’t hesitate to contact an eye doctor near you.