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Understanding the Pros and Cons of Lasik vs PRK: Which Is the Better Option for You?

Posted on January 30, 2023

Vision disability is one of the most common types among both adults and children. Most people utilize glasses or contacts as a way to correct their vision. However, some have the opportunity to use a more permanent method via corrective eye surgery.

While Lasik is one of the most well-known options, you may have also heard of PRK. But what’s the difference between Lasik vs PRK, and which one should you choose?

Here are the pros and cons you should know about Lasik eye surgery and PRK.

What is Lasik Eye Surgery?

Most people with vision problems have heard of Lasik eye surgery. It has one of the highest success rates of all the procedures and can help you see better for the rest of your life.

Although it can cost around $2,500 per eye, it’ll help you save money you would’ve spent on eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Process

Patients can prepare for the procedure by avoiding contacts for a designated time beforehand. They should also avoid using eye makeup on the day of the surgery and arrange for a ride home.

Lasik eye surgery begins with eye drops to numb the area. The surgeon will put various devices on your eyes to keep them from blinking or moving. You’ll be awake the entire time, but your vision will fluctuate throughout the procedure.

The surgeon then uses a laser to cut a thin flap in your cornea and reshape it. When it’s done, the cornea is replaced and will seal up on its own.

You can expect the overall procedure to take less than a half hour for both eyes.

Side Effects and Recovery Time

Side effects such as itchy or burning eyes may occur in the days following your Lasik procedure. Expect some amount of blurry vision while your eyes heal.

Other possible side effects include glare around lights at night, red patches, and increased light sensitivity. In a worst-case scenario, you may develop an eye infection or loss of vision.

Complete recovery should happen within a month.

Who Qualifies

If you’re interested in Lasik eye surgery, there are some requirements you must meet.

First of all, you must be over the age of 18. You cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding, as hormonal changes can affect your cornea. Anyone with chronic dry or itchy eyes also isn’t a good candidate.

You may not qualify for the procedure if your eyesight has fluctuated severely over the past two years. If you’re diabetic, you need healthy glucose levels.

What is PRK?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is another type of corrective surgery that involves the cornea. In fact, it’s done with the same kind of laser as the one used in Lasik surgery. The main differences are in the process and recovery time.

Process

PRK is performed in an outpatient surgery center where the doctor first numbers your eye with drops. The same equipment is used to hold your eye in place as was used in Lasik surgery.

Instead of folding aside a flap of your cornea’s epithelium, they instead remove it with a brush or laser. A laser is then used to reshape your cornea.

A contact lens bandage is placed over your eye to protect it since the outer layer of your eye will need to recover.

Side Effects and Recovery Time

Recovery time after PRK involves a special bandage placed over the eye. After a few days, this bandage is removed. Patients may expect some blurriness and irritation in the days following the procedure.

A full recovery can take about a month but you will regain stable vision after the bandage has been removed.

Keep in mind that the healing process is often very uncomfortable for patients. You may also run into some of the same issues as with Lasik eye surgery.

Who Qualifies

The same qualifications apply to PRK as with most other laser eye procedures. You must be over the age of 18 and not be pregnant or nursing. You need a stable vision prescription and to not have any recent eye injuries.

Lasik vs PRK

Although Lasik and PRK accomplish the same goal, they do so in slightly different ways with different recovery times. There are pros and cons to each of these procedures.

The main pros of Lasik eye surgery are that it has a quick recovery time, is safe and effective, and has a high success rate. Your eye heals without the need for stitches or bandages, and your surgeon only needs to see that it has healed properly.

One of the drawbacks of Lasik is that you may run into complications if the flap doesn’t heal properly. You may also develop dry eyes while you recover.

Meanwhile, PRK is a good option for people with naturally thin corneas. You won’t need to worry about a misaligned flap, and it’s a more affordable option.

The drawback of PRK is that there’s a longer and more uncomfortable recovery time. The outer layer of your cornea needs to completely heal, so you’ll need a bandage contact lens. There’s also a higher risk of infection.

Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover corrective eye surgery. As such, you may desire PRK for the lower cost over Lasik. However, it’s all up to what you discuss with your eye doctor and a qualified surgeon.

Obtain Better Vision

Although Lasik eye surgery has a quicker recovery time, PRK is a viable low-cost alternative that is just as safe. You can expect a full recovery from both of them within a month, though eye irritation may vary. Your current eye doctor should be able to advise you on your best option.

Eye LASIK Austin is the facility of choice for your laser eye needs. Some of the various procedures we can perform include iLASIK, advanced surface ablation, and refractive lens exchange.

Contact us to book your free consultation and learn more about our services.

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