Faqs about PRK and LASIK Surgeries

LASIK surgery is a popular option for correcting vision, but there is another option that is less well known. Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, offers the same corrective results that LASIK does, but there are some differences. If you are looking into your options for corrective surgery, it is important you understand PRK and LASIK.

What Are PRK and LASIK Surgeries?

PRK and LASIK are procedures that correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. Both procedures are considered safe and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. During both procedures, the surgeon uses a computer-guided laser to make small changes to the cornea. PRK is the predecessor to LASIK surgery, but it is still recommended by many surgeons. 

How Do They Differ?

There are some differences that can impact which surgery your surgeon recommends to you. In LASIK surgery, the surgeon creates a flap on the cornea to treat your eyes. In PRK surgery, instead of focusing on treatment through the flap, the surgeon removes the entire outer layer so that the whole treatment area is exposed. 

Another significant difference is the recovery time. PRK surgery takes longer to recover from than LASIK. Patients who receive PRK surgery can take weeks to reach their optimal vision and during that time, they have to take eye drops to aid with healing and ward off dryness. By contrast, with LASIK surgery, results are usually fully realized after a few days

In some cases, PRK surgery is not performed on the same day on both eyes. LASIK is usually done on both eyes on the same day. 

Are There Complications?

For both surgeries, the most common complication is dryness. You could also experience some mild discomfort and pain the first few days following the procedures. An over-the-counter pain reliever is usually enough to alleviate the symptoms. 

Is Everyone Qualified to Receive Laser Vision Correction?

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible to receive laser vision correction. In order to qualify, you must have healthy eyes that are free of infection. Some surgeons will not operate on people who are younger than 21 years of age. If you are pregnant, it is best until after you have the baby to undergo the procedure. During pregnancy, hormones can impact your vision.

Whether you are considering PRK or LASIK, it is important that you talk to an optometrist, such as one from Baldwin Optical & Hearing Aid Co., about your options. He or she can evaluate your eye health and determine which is best.