Corrective eye surgery can be a real blessing, but you might ask yourself, which is better concerning PRK vs. Lasik? Both procedures can treat problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
There are similarities in both treatments. However, there are differences too. For example, they use a laser to reconstruct the cornea (the layer outside your eye), which centers the light, providing clear vision. However, the procedures are entirely different.
You’re considering vision correction surgery and have narrowed your options to PRK and LASIK. However, you may wonder, “Which procedure is best for me?” The answer depends on your eye health and lifestyle. In this article, we’ll compare the two procedures to help you decide which one is right for you.
The first step is to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor, who will examine your eyes and test your vision. Your specialist will also measure your cornea and pupil during this initial consultation.
If you wear contacts, your eye doctor will give instructions on when to remove them before the surgery; it can be a day to a few weeks before the procedure, depending on the type of contacts you wear.
I know you always want to look your best, but you should never apply make-up or cream on or around your eyes before your treatment and ensure you have a lift home as you won’t be able to drive.
the difference between PRK and LASIK During the surgery
As mentioned above, both procedures are similar, especially their primary goal, which is to reconstruct the cornea tissue using a laser; however, there are substantial differences you should be made aware of:
- During the PRK surgery, your surgeon will remove the entire first layer of the cornea tissue.
- During the LASIK surgery, they cut a flap in the tissue to expose the tissues underneath; once the doctors and done with the procedure, they flip the flap back into place.
What happens during PRK?
During PRK eye surgery, the doctor uses a laser to reshape the surface of your cornea. The reshaped outer layer of your eye (called an epithelium) will regenerate in about three days.
Your doctor may recommend wearing bandage contact lenses for one week to help with this healing process and reduce pain.
During PRK, a topical numbing agent is applied to help reduce discomfort during surgery. You may also be given oral medication before your procedure and intravenous sedation if necessary during surgery.
What happens during LASIK?
LASIK is a surgical procedure to correct vision by reshaping the cornea. First, a laser creates a flap in the eye, peeled back so the surgeon can access your cornea.
Next, the surgeon uses a microkeratome to remove tissue from your cornea from its surface.
Then they can reshape it with another laser device and fold the flap back into place to form a smooth surface over your corneal bed again.
This surgery takes between 15 minutes and 30 minutes per eye, depending on how much correction needs to be done (though most procedures take about 20 minutes).
You’ll likely be awake during the entire thing.
Some people report feeling slight pressure during their surgeries but say they could stay relaxed throughout because they could see their doctors working around them and hear what they say while working on their eyes.
While some patients describe LASIK as “painless,” other patients find it uncomfortable, especially if there’s dryness in their eyes afterward.
So you should talk with your doctor about what type of anesthesia might work best for you before starting any procedure involving lasers near your eyes!
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What is the difference between PRK and LASIK in recovery?
Post-surgery recovery and healing times vary depending on the type of procedure performed.
If you’re looking for a safer and more effective procedure, then PRK is the best option for your eye surgery. However, PRK recovery is more painful than LASIK since it involves removing the epithelium and stroma layers of your cornea.
However, this also means that PRK recovery takes longer than LASIK because it requires more healing time before seeing again.
PRK recovery is also more expensive than LASIK because you’ll need to pay extra money for anesthesia and other medications during or after your surgery.
Suppose you decide on getting this procedure done by an ophthalmologist or optometrist in their clinic instead of doing so at home like most people do when having LASIK performed on them alone (which we don’t recommend doing).
In either case, whether done in-house or at a medical facility, it’ll cost less than getting both eyes treated separately with two different surgeries: one for each eye (which might not even be possible if there are complications).
LASIK recovery is also a bit different from PRK recovery. While you can expect to have your eyes patched for at least a few days after surgery, there are fewer restrictions on activity than with PRK.
Most people can go about their daily routines within 24 hours of LASIK surgery and return to work in three or four days.
However, what works best for you and your lifestyle is the only thing that matters. If you want the procedure done right away and don’t mind paying extra, then PRK might be the way to go!
PRK vs. LASIK, which One is Better?
The answer is complicated, and it comes down to personal preference. However, both procedures are effective and provide a permanent solution to blurred vision. One of the main differences is the recovery period.
LASIK is famous as the recovery period is much shorter. PRK takes a few weeks to a month to heal. However, the results are the same with both treatments if done by a reputable surgeon.
Although most people prefer LASIK, PRK is generally safer and more effective as time passes because the surgeon will remove the whole outer layer of the cornea. The problem with the flap is that it can get damaged if you sustain an injury as time goes by.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
As with the majority of surgeries, there are always some risks. However, LASIK is the riskier of the two procedures as there is a delicate step of creating a flap from the cornea’s outer layer.
Risks of both procedures include:
If your surgeon does not remove the tissue of your cornea evenly, it can cause your eye curvature to change. If you use a reputable surgeon, this should not happen, but if it does, there are two possible solutions:
- Follow-up surgery
- You were wearing glasses or contacts to correct your vision.
Read Also: Cornea Transplant Surgery
- Visual distortion
One of the more severe risks associated with corrective eye surgery is visual distortion. This is because the surgeon removes more corneal tissue than usual, resulting in distorted vision (ectasia).
It also weakens the cornea, and the pressure that builds up inside the eye causes it to bulge. This is a serious problem and will need treatment to avoid vision loss.
- Flap complications
A few things that can go wrong with the flap made during LASIK surgery include infection and the production of too many tears. Your recovery period is also vital; it can lead to distorted vision or an uncomfortable feeling if it does not heal properly.
- Dry eyes
Both surgeries, especially LASIK, can produce fewer tears for a few months afterward. However, in sporadic cases, this can be permanent.
- Changes or disturbances to your vision
Right after surgery, you will experience visual changes or disturbances, including reflections off objects, halos around lights, glares from lights, or seeing double. You might also struggle to see in the dark; however, if your surgery is successful, this will go away after time.
There is a chance it could become permanent, and if you are still experiencing issues after four weeks, you should consult with your surgeon.
- Too little tissue removed
If your doctor did not remove enough corneal tissue, your vision would not improve much, especially if you are nearsighted. However, you can quickly correct this with a follow-up surgery if you are unsatisfied with the results.
- Permanent loss of vision
Both these surgeries are intricate, and there is always a risk of damage or complications resulting in permanent vision loss. There is also a chance that your vision will become cloudy or blurred, even if you can see better than before.
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The Ideal Candidate for PRK and LASIK
You will be the ideal candidate if you are:
- 18 years of age or older
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
- Nearsighted with a prescription between -1.00 to -12.00 dioptersThere hasn’t been a drastic change in your vision over the last 12 months.
- Your vision can improve to 20/40
- Average pupil size of 6 millimeters in darkness
Unfortunately, not everyone will qualify for either of these procedures. For example, if you have any of the following symptoms, it will make you an ineligible candidate:
- Chronic allergies that affect your eyelids and the healing of the eye
- Large pupils make you more susceptible to visual disturbances
- Thin corneas that will not be able to handle the procedure
- Significant conditions that affect the eye like glaucoma or diabetes
- If you have previously had PRK or LASIK surgery, it might increase the chances of complications
- Any condition that will affect or prolong the healing period like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
PRK Vs. LASIK cost
Prices will differ depending on your geographical location and the surgeon you use, but typically both procedures can set you back $2000 – $6,000.
Because PRK involves a longer recovery and follow-up appointments to remove the bandage and check on your progress, it can be more expensive. However, both procedures are elective surgeries, so that most healthcare providers won’t cover the cost.
Insurance plans with health savings or flexible spending accounts could potentially cover these surgeries’ costs, so always check with your insurer first.
Which Is More Expensive, PRK or LASIK?
PRK is a good option for people who are not good candidates for LASIK. For example, PRK can be an excellent choice if you have thin corneas. PRK also performs well on people with high levels of myopia (nearsightedness).
is PRK safer than LASIK
LASIK surgery is more invasive than PRK. So PRK is comparatively safer in patients with thin corneas and many corrections.
Laser eye surgery is a quick fix. PRK is a slow fix with a painful recovery.
LASIK goes deep into the cornea.
- The correction is more stable.
- Regression is less likely than PRK.
- LASIK creates a permanent flap in the cornea. PRK doesn’t have a flap.
Although PRK is an archaic procedure, it’s safer than LASIK because of non – invasiveness and less risk of long-term effects.
Is PRK Better than LASIK?
PRK is a good option for not good candidates for LASIK. For example, PRK can be an excellent choice if you have thin corneas. PRK also performs well on people with high levels of myopia (nearsightedness).
Most eye surgeons and patients consider LASIK safer and more effective than PRK, but it carries some risk of complications. In particular, LASIK can cause dry eyes in up to 30% of patients after surgery.
Additionally, both procedures involve cutting the cornea in the case of PRK, and you’ll have a bandage contact lens placed over your eye before the flap (thin layer) is created.
You’ll have a flap made from scratch with LASIK, though this will often heal faster than after PRK.
If you are a good candidate for LASIK but want to avoid the risks associated with laser eye surgery, PRK may be the best option. The procedure is more invasive than LASIK, but post-surgery recovery is much faster and less painful.
If your cornea is thinner than average, PRK may be your best bet. Because it uses a blade instead of lasers, it can safely remove tissue from corneas that are too thin to withstand a laser treatment.
If you have a history of dry eyes (or suspect that your eyes might become dry before or during surgery), PRK might also work better for you as it does not require epithelial healing as LASIK does.
PRK is a more invasive procedure than LASIK. In PRK, the surface of your cornea is ablated (removed) and then replaced with a flap stitched into place. That means a longer recovery period and more discomfort than with LASIK.
Another drawback to PRK is that it could take longer to heal in some eyes. If you don’t heal quickly enough, your vision will not be adequately corrected after surgery. That can result in undergoing additional treatments or, even worse, giving up on vision correction altogether!
LASIK is a more precise procedure than PRK. Also, the LASIK laser removes tissue from the cornea, which can be measured in microns. This precision allows for improved vision compared to PRK and less pain during your recovery period.
If you have nearsightedness or astigmatism and want treatment for both conditions, LASIK may be better for you than PRK. Because it involves only one type of laser instead of two (as with PRK),
LASIK has fewer risks and complications associated with it than its counterpart. It also requires less time to complete than PRK, about 10 minutes per eye versus 20 minutes per eye.
That may be an option worth considering if you have other underlying health issues that make anesthesia difficult.
Because LASIK is a surgical procedure, it’s essential to understand the risks associated with this type of surgery before making your decision.
- Most health insurance plans do not cover LASIK: If you have a private health insurance plan that does not cover LASIK and need vision correction surgery, ask your provider about getting pre-approval for financing options.
- Not everyone qualifies for LASIK: Unfortunately, some people may not be eligible for LASIK because their eyesight doesn’t meet specific criteria (such as having high astigmatism).
During initial screening appointments, if one or both eyes fail to meet the minimum requirements set by doctors who perform laser procedures on patients’ corneas, they will not be able to undergo either type, even if your prescription qualifies for the treatment.
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Can You Do PRK After LASIK?
PRK may be a better option than LASIK for those with previous eye surgery. The corneal flap created during LASIK is replaced in PRK, so if you’ve already had corneal surgery or other injuries to your eye, the risk of complications would be lower with PRK.
It’s also more common for people with previous eye conditions or injuries to opt for PRK instead of LASIK since these patients often have thinner corneas and less tissue over their eyes. In this case, it’s best not to risk further damage by performing another surgical procedure on the damaged area.
How Will I Know if PRK or LASIK Is Right for Me?
You must consult your eye doctor if you’re considering PRK or LASIK. They can help you determine which procedure is suitable for your situation. Your eye doctor will consider the following factors:
Your lifestyle and activities.
Is there anything that would interfere with your recovery? For example, are there any activities you can’t do while recovering from surgery? For example, if you play tennis, will this impact how long it takes before you’re back on the court?
Your medical history.
Does anything in your medical history make PRK riskier than LASIK? For example, PRK might not be an option if you have thin corneas because of the risk of infection after surgery.
Or, if your parents had hereditary glaucoma as they got older in their 70s or 80s, and it already affects one of your eyes, correcting both eyes at once may increase your chances of developing glaucoma.
Later on, previous damage caused by laser correction surgeries done decades ago could lead to severe sight loss later down the road, even though no symptoms currently exist.
Does LASIK correct farsightedness (hyperopia)?
PRK is the best option for your eye surgery if you have farsightedness, and LASIK is only for nearsightedness.
LASIK can also correct hyperopia (farsightedness), but the procedure is slightly different. In this case, your doctor will make an additional incision on the surface of your cornea using a blade called a microkeratome or laser to create an opening where they can insert the laser underneath. This procedure is called limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs).
Do I have to be awake during LASIK or PRK?
For PRK, you will be awake during the procedure. For LASIK, you will be asleep during the procedure.
PRK is a more invasive procedure and requires more time to heal than LASIK does. It’s also more painful after surgery than LASIK, but both procedures should be relatively pain-free at their respective post-operative visits (typically a few days later).
Both procedures are permanent solutions for vision correction. They will last for decades if done correctly by an experienced eye surgeon who understands how to tweak their technique according to your individual needs.
Can You Improve Your Vision by Eating a Healthy Diet?
A healthy diet can help maintain good health, but there is no evidence that it will improve vision. However, common ingredients in a nutritious diet, such as vitamins and minerals, may help the body heal and restore normal function after surgery.
However, it is not recommended that you change your diet in anticipation of eye surgery because there is no evidence that this will help your recovery.
What Are My Treatment Options If I Have Myopia?
If you have myopia and are considering laser eye surgery, you’re probably wondering which procedure is right for you. The answer depends on many factors, including your symptoms’ severity and budget.
There are two types of laser eye surgery: LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy).
LASIK uses a laser to reshape the surface of your cornea so that it can focus light correctly on its retina. PRK uses an ultraviolet light source to remove tissue from the surface of your cornea before reshaping it with an excimer laser.
Laser eye surgery may be used alone or in combination with another procedure, such as cataract surgery or glaucoma treatment.
What Causes Cataracts, and How Can You Avoid Them?
Cataracts are caused by a variety of factors, including:
As you age, the lenses in your eyes become more opaque and cloudy. Cataracts can affect young and older adults; however, they’re most common among people over 60.
If your parents or siblings have had cataracts, you may inherit a genetic mutation that increases your risk of developing them.
Environmental factors such as UV light exposure (from the sun or tanning beds), smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol excessively can also increase your chances of developing cataracts.
Suppose these habits are not stopped early enough in life before damage occurs to the eye’s lens cells during childhood development or adulthood. In that case, lifestyle choices may lead to increased health problems, such as cancerous tumors later on down the road.
PRK and LASIK are two types of eye surgery used to correct vision. Both treatments can be outpatient procedures but differ in their recovery time and cost.
PRK is an older procedure that uses an acidic solution to remove corneal tissue before reshaping the surface of your eye with a laser. It takes longer than LASIK because it requires more healing time before you can see again without glasses or contacts.