For patients seeking to permanently improve their vision, both LASIK and PRK are great options, with lasting results. The main difference between LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is within the procedure itself.

Difference in Procedure

LASIK requires 3 minutes per each eye and involves the use of a laser to create a flap in the cornea. The flap is then gently lifted and the corneal tissue is reshaped with an excimer laser in order to correct vision. In contrast, PRK requires 6-7 minutes per eye and the first step involves removing the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium). Once the epithelium is removed, the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped with an excimer laser.

Both procedures are trusted and produce similar vision correction outcomes. The best procedure really depends on the patient’s needs and long-term goals.

LASIK Has a Shorter Recovery Time vs PRK

There are many benefits of LASIK eye surgery, however certain aspects of LASIK might entice a patient to undergo the procedure over PRK.  One advantage LASIK has over PRK is its recovery time. LASIK has a shorter recovery time than PRK.  Since the epithelial cells are removed during a PRK procedure, a patient needs a few days to grow new epithelial cells which will recover the surface of their eye. For patients who are seeking a shorter healing time, LASIK might be a better fit.

PRK is Better for Certain Eye Anatomies and Occupations

PRK is a great LASIK alternative for patients who have thin or irregular corneas. In order to be a candidate for LASIK, a patient needs sufficient corneal thickness so that your surgeon can create a flap in your eye. If a patient is disqualified for LASIK due to thin or irregular corneas, your surgeon may suggest PRK instead.

In addition, PRK can be a better option for those who are in certain occupations where there is an increased risk of trauma to the eye (think professional athletes in combat sports, military, etc). Trauma to the eye could disturb the flap created in LASIK, creating potential complications.

Who Are Candidates for LASIK?

LASIK eye surgery is considered the best fit for patients with thick corneal tissue flaps, who want minimal downtime.

Candidates for LASIK include:

  • A patient who is 18 years or older
  • Does not have thin or irregular corneas
  • Experiences a stable prescription
  • No history of active corneal disease
  • No significant eye issues or disease (glaucoma, macular degeneration, keratoconus)

Who Are Candidates for PRK?

PRK is great for patients seeking a less impactful procedure and often have special conditions that prevent them from undergoing LASIK.

Candidates for PRK include:

  • Experiences a stable prescription
  • Patients with an irregular astigmatism
  • No significant eye issues or disease (glaucoma, macular degeneration, keratoconus)
  • A patient who is at high-risk for eye trauma
  • Patients with thin or irregular corneal tissue

The Right Procedure for You

Ultimately, the only way to find out if LASIK or PRK is right for you is to schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced surgeon. Your surgeon will be able to provide you with the best solution based on your eye anatomy, needs, and prescription. To schedule your complimentary consultation, please call us at 805-987-5300 or contact us online. You can also text us at 805-621-7737.