PRK vs LASIK – Learn More About How They Differ


PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Although LASIK is the most popular type of vision correction surgery, not everyone is a candidate for the procedure. However, other refractive treatments exist that may be viable solutions for those patients for whom LASIK is not an option. One of these is “flapless LASIK,” or PRK. PRK has been performed in the United States since the mid-1990s and may be an excellent alternative for patients who are not candidates for the LASIK procedure.

How does PRK work?

Using the same excimer laser used in the LASIK procedure, the surgeon reshapes the cornea so light rays focus directly on the retina. However, there is no corneal flap created with Photorefractive Keratectomy as there is with LASIK. During Photorefractive Keratectomy, the surgeon removes the surface layer of the corneal cells (called the corneal epithelium) and then reshapes the corneal tissue with the excimer laser. A soft or “bandage” contact lens is applied to keep the eye comfortable as the corneal epithelium grows back over the cornea over the next several days.

Who qualifies for PRK?

Unfortunately, even with today’s advanced technology, LASIK may not be an option for some people. For these patients, PRK can still provide optimal vision without glasses or contacts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that Photorefractive Keratectomy is especially useful for patients who have very thin corneas, or who may have had previous eye procedures. Patients who may be at risk of dislodging the corneal flap — including people who engage in extreme contact sports such as professional boxing or ultimate fighting — may also be better suited to Photorefractive Keratectomy than LASIK.

PRK results

The visual outcomes for PRK patients are comparable to that of LASIK patients, but the recovery time is generally longer. Typically, healing with it may take one to three weeks and Photorefractive Keratectomy patients may experience some blurry vision and discomfort the first few days following their procedure. Medication is usually prescribed to help reduce or alleviate any discomfort the patient may experience.

If you have been told you are not a candidate for LASIK, always get a second opinion from a highly experienced refractive surgery specialist. Dr. Manger has used PRK to successfully correct patients who were not considered suitable LASIK candidates. During your diagnostic exam, we will determine if Photorefractive Keratectomy is best for your individual eye condition.

For more information, call Saddleback Eye Center today and schedule your free LASIK exam with Dr. Manger.

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