PRK vs. LASIK: Which is Better in 2021?

Starting a conversation with the doctor about PRK vs. LASIK

Blurry vision is a top reason people consider vision correction, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of PRK vs. LASIK. According to the National Eye Institute, over 150 million Americans have blurry vision, known as refractive error. It’s the most common vision issue people deal with today.  The most common types of refractive error include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Fortunately, dealing with the constant hassle of glasses and contact lenses is no longer your only option. 

Advances in technology and medicine give you choices today that weren’t available in the past. It’s helpful to walk into your doctor visit with some knowledge about PRK vs. LASIK, and even SMILE to be prepared to determine your best vision correction choice. 

Understanding how we see

When a healthy eye works correctly to see an image, light passes through the cornea, which is the eye’s outermost layer. Next, the light passes through the lens, located inside the eye. These parts focus that light onto the retina, located in the back of the eye. That image is sent as an electrical signal through the optic nerve to the brain. If there are problems with the cornea, lens, or retina, problems with vision can happen. 

The most common problems with vision (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism) are all problems that result from the cornea having an irregular shape. 

During both PRK and LASIK, laser vision correction gently reshapes the surface of the cornea. For most people, they find that they no longer need glasses or contacts after this treatment. 

What is LASIK?

Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is the most common eye surgery when comparing PRK vs. LASIK options. It, along with PRK, is a type of laser vision correction. This treatment involves creating a microscopic flap in the cornea first. Then a pulsating beam of cool laser light reshapes the cornea with the flap lowered to protect the eye and promote healing.

What is PRK?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) also reshapes the cornea. It does so without the flap step required for LASIK. Instead, it involves an alcohol-based fluid used to prepare the surface of the eye and a cool, pulsating laser beam of ultraviolet light. Following this treatment, a contact lens is placed in the eye to protect it, taking about a week to heal, with vision continually improving over time. 

Considering PRK vs. LASIK options, who is best suited to PRK?

While these laser treatments are similar, PRK is often the best choice for patients with very dry eyes or thin corneas. It can be a good option for people who have had previous corrective vision treatment or older forms of vision correction such as RK (Radial Keratotomy). It can also be the right choice for those with very athletic lifestyles, emergency or military personnel, and people who work outside. The recovery time is slightly longer because the eye heals more slowly.

Who is best suited to LASIK?

LASIK is the right choice for correcting most typical vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. About 98% of the population find out that they’re good candidates for LASIK. LASIK provides faster recovery times with excellent visual outcomes. 

What about treating astigmatism?

Most people are surprised to find out that both LASIK and PRK can correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, even with astigmatism! Most patients having laser vision correction have some amount of astigmatism treated.

PRK vs. LASIK, but what about SMILE?

SMILE is another form of laser vision correction. It is even less invasive when compared to LASIK and offers faster recovery than both PRK and LASIK. Most patients that are candidates for LASIK or PRK are also great candidates for SMILE. Learn more about smile:

When you’re researching PRK vs. LASIK, know that you’ll be in excellent hands with the proven innovation and highly skilled team at the Laser Eye Institute. Schedule your free consultation today: 

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David Lemieux, BA from Oakland University is a LASIK expert and marketing professional that has worked with Dr. Dan Haddad and the Laser Eye Institute since 2017. David believes in education and cutting through the noise to deliver facts and opinions about LASIK, SMILE, and all things Laser Vision Correction.