LASIK vs PRK are both excellent forms of refractive eye surgeries but in this article, we are going to discuss the following important topics to differentiate both of these surgeries:

QUICK LINKS:

1. What’s the difference between the procedure of PRK and LASIK?
1.1 Procedure of PRK.
1.2 Procedure of LASIK.
2. What’s the difference in recovery time between PRK and LASIK?
2.1 Recovery time of PRK.
2.2 Recovery time of LASIK.
3. Benefits of PRK over LASIK.
4. Cost of PRK vs LASIK eye surgery.
5. FAQs on PRK vs LASIK

 

Now we are going to talk about two different forms of refractive eye surgery first one LASIK eye surgery and another one called PRK.

PRK has been around since the 1980s and stands for photorefractive keratectomy this procedure is a little bit different versus LASIK although both of them achieve very similar results in terms of visual acuity.

Procedures of PRK vs Procedure of LASIK

Procedure of PRK

  • PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. PRK is done in the operating room where your surgeon has to first remove the very front surface of the cornea that’s called the epithelium.
  • They can remove it either first using a kind of mechanical brush that kind of polishes the surface or they can use some type of alcohol solution which makes the front surface very kind of weak and easily removed.
  • After this, your surgeon uses an excimer laser this laser then vaporizes some of the tissue from the surface of the eye and sculpts the cornea to refract light inside the eye to give you good vision similar to what you’d have with glasses or contacts.

Now, compare the basic procedure of PRK with the procedure of LASIK

 

Procedure of LASIK

  • LASIK uses a different type of procedure where they slice part of the cornea and then create a flap in the cornea then this flap is then lifted off kind of like a hinge.
  • Then that same excimer laser that was used in PRK is then applied to the cornea just as well but then afterward they can lay that flap back down and the cornea kind of self heals that allows you to see very well directly after the procedure.

Recovery time of PRK and LASIK

Recovery time of PRK

If you’re somebody who goes through PRK then for that  the front surface of the epithelium of the cornea has to be removed. That surface needs to re-heal before you have better vision and you’re not experiencing any discomfort after the procedure. 

 

Your surgeon puts a bandage contact lens on the eye that lens remains on the eye for about five to seven days all day and night. Then your eye doctor will remove that bandage lens. During that time bandage lens protects the cornea from your eyelid from coming down and rubbing the eyes.

 

It also helps the healing process for that tissue. Once your eye has re-epithelized and that tissue regrew back then the lens is removed.

 

Then vision starts to be a lot better but during that initial five to seven-day recovery period after PRK vision is often pretty fuzzy and a lot of people don’t drive they don’t go to work they just take things easy for that time period.

 

With PRK even after that five to seven day period as the surface re-heals even after that vision may never be quite just as clear as it will be it still takes some time for that cornea to heal up and patients are often still put on medicated steroid eye drops for many weeks after the procedure even up to several months to keep the cornea clear and to prevent it from hazing and to help get the prescription to stabilize right.

Recovery time of LASIK

For LASIK your surgeon doesn’t have to remove that top layer surface of the cornea they just put that flap back into position and it kind of self heals because of that almost immediately after the procedure within the first 24 to 48 hours.

 

Vision is usually very excellent and there’s very little discomfort after the procedure there still are prescribed medications antibiotic eye drops that you don’t get an infection and steroid eye drops to help reduce any sort of inflammation and swelling of the eye.

 

In addition, patients are encouraged to use lubricating eye drops very frequently also sometimes even every hour after the procedure as dry eyes are a common complication after these procedures.

 

 

Benefits of PRK over LASIK

You might be kind of wondering why anybody would want to have PRK because LASIK seems to have faster results and is less complicated well the reality is both of these procedures although they have excellent results and very similar there are some benefits to having PRK vs LASIK and vice versa for some people. 

1. Thickness of cornea.

2. Dryness of eye.

3. Lifestyle factor.

 

1. Thickness of the cornea 

In the PRK procedure because they’re not creating that flap as they are with LASIK there’s a little bit more tissue to give the surgeon leeway for the correction. So, individuals who have a higher prescription or they have less tissue of their cornea then that’s something where PRK would be recommended. To ultimately know how much thickness of your cornea, you have to go through a eye exam named “pachymetry”.

 

The thickness of the cornea is a measurement done in the eye clinic called pachymetry and that’s something that your eye surgeon or your preoperative doctor will assess for furthermore.

A medical device that used for pachymetry is known ad pachymeter.

2. Dryness of the eye

LASIK eye surgery does sever corneal nerves and that can have a consequence of dryness afterward for some people especially individuals who have dryness even before these surgeries. In such cases, PRK has that advantage again because LASIK severs those nerves and predisposes them to a higher risk of dryness to the eye.

 

3. Lifestyle factor

This is another major factor to be considered such as people who are in martial arts or maybe you’re in the military and you’re more likely to be involved in some form of trauma after the procedure.

 

Military person (or person with this type of tough lifestyle) who have LASIK then his flap self heals basically 100% after three months but there’s still, risk of trauma happens to the eye due to which flap could be dislodged and removed from the eye.

 

That would be an emergency absolutely and so for that reason individuals who are more likely to have some sort of trauma after the procedure may do better with PRK in the sense that there’s no flap there for that to be removed.

Cost of PRK and LASIK eye surgery

It’s pretty difficult to answer because it does vary so much between different professionals and the location. But, generally in the United States more specifically in Central Minnesota the general cost for both of these procedures are about the same somewhere between $1700-$2000 per eye. 

 

Frequently asked questions on LASIK and PRK

Q1. Can LASIK be allowed for Indian armed forces?

Ans. Yes, LASIK is allowed in the Indian Army and Indian Air Force but you have to fulfill the following criteria –

    • You must be older than 20 yr.
    • LASIK has been done 6 or 12 months before your medical examination.
    • The residual corneal thickness should not be less than 450 microns.
    • The axial length of the eyeless than 25.5mm or 26mm.

while NDA does not allow LASIK or any other corrective surgery. Colour blind and night blind candidates are also not accepted in any armed forces.

Q2. Which is better PRK or LASIK ?
Ans. The answer is if you have less tissues on your cornea or thickness of your cornea is less, If you often have dryness in your eye and
if you are somebody with tough lifestyle like military then PRK is better option for you. For reasons check : Benefits of PRK over LASIK
 
Q3. Which eye surgery you should prefer PRK or LASIK for military?

Ans. Military person (or person with this type of tough lifestyle) who have LASIK then his flap self heals basically 100% after three months but there’s still, risk of trauma happens to the eye due to which flap could be dislodged and removed from the eye.

That would be an emergency absolutely and so for that reason individuals who are more likely to have some sort of trauma after the procedure may do better with PRK in the sense that there’s no flap there for that to be removed.

 

 

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