Picking between PRK and LASIK isn’t something to rush. Your eyes are really important, after all. Even though the ways they do LASIK and PRK are really different, both surgeries help fix how your eyes focus. In this article, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of PRK vs LASIK.
What Both Can Treat
When you hear about laser eye surgery, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re thinking about LASIK, you’re not alone. However, there’s another type of laser eye surgery that came before LASIK, called Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK. Both of these surgeries can help you see better without glasses or contacts, which is why many people like them. LASIK and PRK can fix these eye problems:
- Not seeing well up close (nearsightedness).
- Not seeing well far away (farsightedness).
- Seeing blurry because your eye’s lens or cornea isn’t even (astigmatism).
Understanding the Difference between PRK and LASIK Before Making a Decision
Safety is super important. Sometimes, certain things about your eyes can mean LASIK isn’t safe for you. In these cases, you and your doctor might think about doing PRK instead. Both LASIK and PRK change the shape of your cornea, which is like the front window of your eye that helps you see. Your doctor will look at all your tests and measurements and tell you which surgery is safest for your eyes.
How the Treatment Process Works
If we’re talking about LASIK vs PRK, which are types of laser eye surgery, what sets them apart? Here’s the main thing:
For PRK, the doctor takes off the top cells of the cornea. But for LASIK, a little flap is made on the cornea so they can get to the tissue underneath.
The Process During PRK
Before having PRK eye surgery, they’ll give you special eye drops that make sure you don’t feel any pain. You might also take a pill to help you relax. The following steps will then proceed:
- The eye doctor will put something in your eye to gently keep your eyelids open while they work.
- The eye doctor will softly take off the outer part of your cornea, which is like the front part of your eye, using a gentle brush.
- Then, using a really accurate laser, they’ll change the shape of your cornea to help you see better.
- After the surgery, the eye doctor will put a bandage that’s like a contact lens on your eye. This helps your eye heal and makes you feel better after the surgery.
The Process During LASIK
Just like with PRK, the doctor will use special drops to make your eyes numb and a thing to gently keep your eye open. After that, expect the following process:
- Using a laser, the eye doctor will make a small flap in the front part of your eye, like a door.
- The difference between PRK and LASIK is that, in LASIK, the front part stays unharmed. They’ll softly lift the flap.
- The same laser that’s used for PRK is also used for LASIK. It changes the shape of the front part of your eye to help you see better. Then, they put the flap back down gently and the surgery is done.
PRK Eye Surgery vs LASIK Recovery
PRK and LASIK are both really good because they help your eyes for a long time, even if the surgery feels a bit uncomfortable at first. But guess what? PRK and LASIK take different times to heal. LASIK can be quick, like just a few hours. But listen up, no matter if you have PRK or LASIK, you need to be careful. Put on sunglasses and don’t rub your eyes after the surgery to avoid problems.
After PRK, a special kind of bandage, like a contact lens, is put on your eye. This helps the front part of your eye grow back and heal. Dr. Kraff, the doctor, does this right after the surgery is done. The bandage lens is taken off when your eye gets better. When the eye is healing and you’re wearing this lens, you can see somewhat well.
For a few days, your eyes might feel a bit blurry, irritated, and sensitive to light as they heal. After some days, the bandage comes off. You’ll get some medicine to help with any pain for the first day or two. You’ll also use eye drops.
In LASIK, the little door made on your eye is put back in place. Getting better after LASIK is faster than PRK, as most people can do regular things the day after. Your vision can be way better and okay even before you leave.
After the surgery, you might feel some not-so-good things or a little burning for a bit. You’ll get some medicine for pain and eye drops to use later.
Possible Side Effects Between LASIK vs PRK
Just like with any medical stuff or surgery, there can be things to think about for LASIK and PRK. The two kinds of surgery are a bit different, but some of the not-so-good effects can be similar. Below are some notable side effects:
- Your eyes might get dry and it could be hard to make tears for a few months. Using special eye drops can help with this.
- You might see weird things like circles or glares for about a month after the surgery. If this keeps happening, talk to your doctor because it might be a sign of something else.
- Sometimes, the doctor might not take off enough of the front part of your eye, and you might still have problems seeing clearly.
- Taking off too much can be a problem too. It could make your vision weird and cause pressure in your eye. If you’re told you have this, talk to your doctor right away so you don’t lose your vision later.
- You might end up with a problem called astigmatism if the front part of your eye isn’t taken off evenly. This could mean you need glasses or contacts.
- For LASIK, if the little door they make doesn’t heal right, you could get an infection. Your eyes might make too many tears or feel weird. This happens more in LASIK than in PRK.
- Like all surgeries, eye surgery can sometimes have big problems, but this is really rare. Your vision might get worse and things could look cloudy or blurry.
PRK vs LASIK: Care for Your Eyes by Staying Informed
Picking whether to have PRK or LASIK isn’t something you should hurry with. Your eyes are super important, after all. Even though they do LASIK and PRK differently, both surgeries help your eyes focus better. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand what sets LASIK vs PRK apart before you make this life-changing decision.