LASIK and PRK eye surgery are two laser vision correction procedures that can correct vision that is blurred due to refractive errors. Refractive errors such as myopia (which results in nearsighted vision), hyperopia (which results in farsighted vision), and astigmatism affect tens of millions of people throughout the world. Most of these people either do not have means to seek treatment for the condition or use eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct blurry vision. Patients in the United States, England, Australia, Canada, and developed countries have undergone corrective eye surgery to permanently treat refractive conditions. LASIK and PRK are two of the most commonly performed laser vision correction procedures on the market. This post reviews the difference between LASIK and PRK surgery.
How the cornea is accessed: The main difference in the manner that LASIK and PRK surgery is performed is the technique used to access the inner cornea. In LASIK surgery, a microkeratome blade or laser is used to create a hinged flap along the outer layers of the cornea. This exposes the inner corneal tissue that is to be reshaped during the next stage of the LASIK procedure. In PRK surgery, the entire outer (epithelial) layer of the cornea is removed so the cornea can be reshaped.
Recovery period: The recovery period associated with PRK surgery is longer and more painful than the one associated with LASIK surgery. The complete removal of the epithelial layer leads to a need for special contact lenses that must be worn while the outer corneal layer grows back. With PRK surgery, patients experience clear vision after a few days. With LASIK surgery, patients experience clear vision within a day and pain diminishes within a day or two of the procedure. Because the PRK recovery period is longer and more painful, the procedure is only recommended to patients that are not good candidates for LASIK due to having thin or damaged corneas.