PRK vs. LASIK: exploring options when it comes to vision correction surgery

In the past 25 years, modern eye medicine has made significant advancements in the types of treatments that patients can seek to correct vision problems.


While glasses and contacts are still staples of vision correction, in recent years, more and more people have been able to avail themselves of surgical options.  Tools, techniques and procedures have continued to evolve rapidly, giving patients many options, including two of the most popular, PRK and LASIK.


Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) uses a laser to remove tissue from the surface of the eye to change cornea’s curvature.  It is also known as surface ablation.  Approved by the FDA in 1995, it remains a popular option for patients today.


LASIK has many variations, but all procedures in this category involve cutting a flap from the outer covering of the eye (the epithelium) so that the eye can be reshaped.


Depending on individual circumstances, PRK may be more suitable for some patients while LASIK may be more preferable for others.


PRK is a surface procedure, and that means there are no surgical complications that might arise because no surgical flap incision is involved.  PRK is a safer procedure in cases where a thin cornea might create complications in attempting to cut a flap as part of a LASIK procedure.


LASIK remains the most popular option today because there is virtually no discomfort with the procedure, and the patient’s vision is more quickly enhanced, many times within hours, instead of days as is the case with PRK.


However, if you are a diabetic or have other conditions that affect how a wound heals, a better option might be PRK over LASIK.  Another thing to consider is that if you are pregnant, you should probably hold off on elective eye surgery, or any elective surgery, because hormonal changes can affect the desired treatment you are looking for.


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