Why would someone chose PRK over Lasik? What are the benefits and criteria for considering each one?
Are There More Advantages to PRK or Lasik?
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Doctor Answers 2
Generally LASIK recovery is much speedier and less painful with the flap bladeless LASIK
Generally LASIK recovery is much speedier and less painful with the flap bladeless LASIK, therefore fewer reasons to chose PRK. Enhancements years after LASIK would be a reason to perform PRK over LASIK. If a patient is not a candidate for thin flap LASIK, caution must be taken if PRK is considered.
Pros and Cons of LASIK versus PRK
LASIK and PRK use the same technology (excimer) to reshape the cornea. LASIK requires the construction of a "flap" first with either a different kind of laser (femtosecond) or a blade. This flap is usually anywhere from 40-100 microns thick and is lifted up before the re-shaping laser is applied and then laid back down afterwards. This is a great option for someone with mild to moderate refractive error and normal or thicker corneas. With PRK, no flap is created, only the surface "skin cells" (epithelium) are removed and the re-shaping laser is directly applied to the top surface of the cornea. This is a better option for someone with slight epithelial disease, borderline or thinner than normal corneas, or someone with an active career.
- + Immediate vision
- + Minimal discomfort
- - Slightly reduced integrity of cornea (the "flap" never fully heals)
- - Not good for thin or borderline corneas
- - Usually a little more expensive due to the need for 2 lasers or steps
- + Maintains maximum corneal integrity
- + Better for those with mild epithelial disease or dry eyes
- - Full visual benefit can take 1 week to a few months
- - More discomfort due to the need to remove epithelium and allow for healing, usually under a bandage contact lens
- + Slightly less expensive due to 1 step process
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.