LASIK VS PRK?

COMPARING LASIK TO PRK


  • Neither LASIK or PRK involves any pain during the procedure itself.
     
  • Patients prefer the LASIK procedure because of the rapid vision recovery and minimal postoperative care.
     
  • Many doctors agree that patients with high amounts of nearsightedness should have LASIK. For patients with lower to moderate amounts of myopia, either process may be appropriate. 
     
LASIK
PRK
Requires the surgeon to use a surgical instrument called a microkeratome to create a corneal flap. A portion of the flap remains attached to the eye (as a hinge) while the remainder is gently lifted up and back exposing the inner cornea. The cool beam laser then resculpts the cornea and the flap is returned to its original position. 
  • No stitches are required as the flap stays in place by the natural pressure of your eyes.
     
  • Eye drop medication is used for up to one week and the patient typically can resume normal activities with three days. Most of the healing process takes place within a week, however, it may take from 1 to 3 months for your vision to fully stabilize.
     
  • Many LASIK patients experience only 5-6 hours of discomfort as the surface (epithelial) layer heals. A non-prescription pain reliever such as acetaminophen, ASA, etc. can be taken to ease your discomfort.
     
  • The disadvantage of LASIK is that it requires an additional surgical step, the creation of the flap. This creation is painless and takes less than a minute to complete. However, difficulties can occur with the flap and this occurs about 1% of the time. These complications can be treated often by lifting or repositioning the flap. Improper creation of the flap could result in the need for further surgery.
  • Involves removal of the top surface level of the cornea called the epithelium. This exposes the inner cornea which the computer assisted laser will begin to resculpt the curvature of the eye.
    • No needles or incisions are required. 
       
    • Eye medications are used and clear contact lenses are placed on each eye to prevent infection. These lenses are removed within 2-5 days after surgery. The surface (epithelial) layer will begin to regenerate itself and the whole healing process will take up to 3-4 months. During that time eye medications will be used to promote healing and prevent infections.
       
    • PRK patients usually take pain relief medication for about 1-2 days postoperatively. This is due to the fact that most of the pain fibers in the cornea are located in the surface portion and with PRK these are affected during surgery and the healing process.
       
    • With PRK there is a small risk of problems arising from an irregular healing response and/or infection. These can generally be treated with medications.
     The decision of which procedure would best benefit you must be discussed
    by you and your eye care professional, however, the final decision
    is based on your eye examination results.

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    Dr. Murray McFadden
    (BSc, MD, FRCS(C), Diplomate of the
    American Board of Ophthalmology)
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    This page last updated on September 16, 2001.
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