A question we get fairly frequently is what procedure a patient should choose: LASIK or PRK? At the end of the day, this is a conversation you need to have with your doctor, but at least on a basic level, they’re similar procedures.
Both procedures use the same laser with the goal of reshaping your cornea in order to improve your vision. This can fix a number of issues ranging from nearsightedness and farsightedness to astigmatisms and cataracts. The underlying difference is that LAISK fixes your cornea under a flap in your lens while PRK reshapes it from the surface.
LASIK has a few distinct advantages, the first of which is a faster healing process. In some cases, patients can see at a whole new level just one or two days after surgery. The disadvantages are fairly clear as well. There’ll be a greater likelihood of dry eye symptoms and some risk related to flap complication.
PRK on the other hand takes longer to heal but also has the distinct advantage of the sheer simplicity of the procedure itself. Unlike LASIK which has a dash of invasiveness to it, PRK doesn’t make an incision, meaning you don’t have to worry about the issues that occasionally follow LASIK procedures. While many PRK patients can have faster recovery times, it can take a few weeks to achieve full vision again.
So which procedure is for you? Well the research is pretty much split between the two procedures in terms of what’s ‘better.’ In fact, they achieve very similar results. Where the decision heads for you will be dictated largely by your health history and personal preferences. If you have a history of dry eye, abnormal topography or a thin cornea, PRK might warrant some extra consideration on your part. If you’re looking for a quicker recovery, LASIK might be the option to choose.
Whichever it is, be sure to talk to your doctor first. You may not be a candidate for either of these procedures and something like an ICL might be best for you. Which opens up a whole new discussion on lenses, choices and intraocular lens manufacturers. At the end of the day, consider what means the most to you, your health history and the right procedure for you will come into a little bit clearer focus. Good luck!