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Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are surgical techniques that help correct refractive errors. Eye surgeons use lasers to treat vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Both procedures reshape the cornea, improving the eyesight. They involve lasers, but there are slight differences in the techniques. It is helpful to find out the differences between LASIK and PRK.


LASIK Procedure

Before performing the surgery, the doctor cleans and numbs the eyes using drops. LASIK eye surgery involves the creation of a small flap in the cornea, done with a tiny blade or lasers. The surgeon raises the flap before using lasers to modify the cornea.

After completing the surgery, the surgeon lowers the flap back to position, allowing the cornea to repair itself. The repair occurs over several months. The procedure takes about 30 minutes for both eyes.


PRK Procedure 

During the PRK procedure, eye surgeons remove the epithelium, the cornea’s top layer, using a laser, blade, or brush. The surgeon then reshapes the cornea using a laser, fixing any irregular curvature.

Eye doctors perform the procedure in an outpatient clinic. Before the surgery, the surgeon uses drops to numb the eye. An eyelid holder helps keep the eye open to prevent blinking. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes for both eyes.


Difference Between LASIK and PRK

The two surgical procedures are similar in that they reshape the cornea using tiny blades or lasers. However, there are some differences. During LASIK, the eye doctor makes a flap, allowing access to the tissue below. After the procedure, they close the flap.

In PRK, surgeons remove the top part of the cornea tissue, leaving the eye exposed, before reshaping the cornea. The layer grows back over time. It takes days to recover from LASIK and about a month from PRK.


Choosing Between LASIK and PRK

PRK is more suitable for patients with high prescriptions or very poor eyesight. Due to the use of the flap, people who get LASIK should have adequate cornea after the reshaping. Determine the time that you must recover after surgery. Patients recover faster after LASIK than after PRK.

Most people can see clearly within hours after getting LASIK. Healing from PRK takes longer, and most patients experience minor pain.


Effectiveness of the Procedures

If performed by an experienced eye surgeon, both LASIK and PRK are effective for correcting vision. The two procedures are permanent solutions. PRK is safer for active individuals because there is no flap involved. The flap that results from LASIK may be susceptible to damage or complications. PRK is much quicker and easier, and it is usually cheaper than LASIK. However, PRK may require more post-op checkups to monitor the healing.

You can talk to an eye specialist to determine the best option for you. The specialist will explain the risks and side effects associated with the procedures. The condition of your eyes, your overall health, and other factors will determine the best option for you.

Berris Optical co-manages LASIK and PRK. But note that LASIK and PRK co-management at Berris Optical occurs before and after both procedures, not during the surgery itself.

To know more about the difference between LASIK and PRK, visit Berris Optical at our office in Rocky River, Ohio. You can call 440-571-7100​​​​​​​ today to schedule an appointment.

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