PRK vs. LASIK: Which is Better in 2022?

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. 

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, How Do I Know Which Is Right For Me?

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.

Is LASIK Right For Me?

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 Are The Side Effects? 

PRK: The after-effects of a PRK procedure are very temporary. Some patients report feeling their eyes sore or gritty for a few days. Additionally, others may perceive halos around lights, especially in low-light contexts. 

LASIK: The side effects of a LASIK procedure are very similar to a PRK procedure. Patients most often report soreness, itchiness, or burning in their eyes for a day or two after the procedure. Patients can also feel an increased sensitivity to light and may see glares or halos around different light sources. These side effects dissipate within a few days.

How To Prepare For LASIK or PRK

Dr. Dan Haddad will first examine your eyes and check your vision before recommending the procedure right for you. Additionally, many patients stop wearing contacts several days before the procedure; Dr. Dan Haddad will advise you based on your contact type.

Finally, prior to the procedure, avoid applying any makeup or cream around your eyes. Make sure you have a ride home as well, since driving immediately after the treatment is not allowed. 

What Is Recovery Like?

After PRK, you will have a bandage contact lens in your eye, which helps heal and protect your eye from any damage. For both PRK and LASIK, it’s recommended to avoid strenuous activity for approximately a week. Patients should also use sunglasses to avoid scarring complications. LASIK patients can usually see clearly within a couple of hours while PRK patients may need more than a week to return to normal

How Much Does LASIK or PRK Cost?

Pricing for PRK and LASIK are very similarly priced, even though PRK is a procedure that is slightly easier to perform. LASIK Eye Institute offers financing options, so it is an affordable procedure for anyone who needs it. Learn more about LASIK pricing.

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.