PRK and LASIK are both blade-free, laser vision correction options available for patients desiring to become free of glasses and contacts. At Lake Nona Ophthalmology, we offer many options for clearer vision. The techniques are different, but the results are clear.
PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy, but simply put, it is a technique for laser vision correction. PRK was actually the first laser procedure for vision correction (even before LASIK). It is a type of refractive surgery that is used to correct several vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
In PRK, the surface layer of cells are removed gently with a sponge after being soaked in alcohol. An excimer laser then sculpts the underlying stromal layer of the cornea to allow light to focus appropriately without spectacles, thus promoting clearer vision. After the procedure, a temporary contact lens is placed onto the eye, allowing new epithelial cells to regenerate and heal. The lens is then removed three to four days after surgery.
Unlike LASIK, PRK does not create a corneal flap, containing both epithelial and the deeper stromal tissue. This allows the entire thickness of the underlying stroma to be treated. This is particularly beneficial to patients whose cornea is too thin for LASIK.
Most patients do very well after undergoing PRK. The procedure is an excellent, lower risk method, of correcting vision.
Benefits of PRK:
- Most patients regain excellent vision following recovery
- PRK is a bladeless surgery
- Because there is no flap creation as with LASIK, the risk of complications is reduced by 20 percent
- Compared to LASIK in head-to-head studies, patients undergoing PRK had less symptoms of dry eye syndrome, and better secondary outcomes of vision such as contrast, reduced glare and halos
- Since PRK doesn’t create a flap, there is no risk of a flap injury or tear from a trauma in the future
Risks of PRK:
- Post-operative scarring
- Post-operative corneal ectasia
- Dry eyes
- Glare and halos
- Longer post-operative recovery compared to LASIK
LASIK stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis. It is a common method of laser vision correction that reshapes the cornea so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. It is used to correct vision in people with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
In LASIK, a thin flap is created by a femtosecond laser. The flap is then pulled back, exposing the underlying stromal tissue of the cornea. An eximer laser, just like the one used in PRK, is then used to reshape the coreal tissue. The flap is then replaced. Since the superficial layer of cells is not removed, as in PRK, recovery time in LASIK is much more rapid.
Benefits of LASIK:
- Rapid recovery
- Excellent visual acuity shortly after procedure
- Bladeless procedure
Risks of LASIK:
- Dry eyes
- Glare and halos