PRK vs LASIK: What’s The Difference?

March 08, 2024


Are you considering refractive laser eye surgery? You may come across two common options: PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis). Both of these options reshape your cornea in order to improve your vision. The eye doctors at OOMC are here to help you learn more about PRK and LASIK to better understand which procedure may be the right option for you.

Who is a Good Candidate for PRK vs LASIK?

An eye doctor can help you find out if you’re a good candidate for either PRK or LASIK. There are different qualifications that make you a good candidate for either procedure.

A good candidate for LASIK:

  • Needs glasses or contacts to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
  • Is 18 years old or older.
  • Has had little to no changes to their eyesight in the past two years.
  • Has overall good eye health.

You may be a good candidate for PRK if:

  • You need glasses or contacts to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
  • You live a very active lifestyle or are at risk of experiencing an eye injury.
  • You are 18 years old or older.
  • You’ve had little to no changes to your eyesight in the past year.
  • You have thin corneas.

PRK is often recommended over LASIK if you are extremely active and have thinner corneas. Extremely active lifestyles may include professional athletes, police officers, or those who engage in intense sports or hobbies. These can come with a greater risk of eye trauma, which can affect the cornea flap that LASIK creates.

What Happens During PRK and LASIK Procedures?

Person receiving Lasik or PRK surgeryPRK and LASIK surgeries use lasers to make changes to your cornea to correct your vision and reduce dependency on glasses and contacts.

During a LASIK procedure, your surgeon will take custom measurements using WaveFront-guided diagnostics. This will only take a few seconds and create a 3D image, an actual “blueprint” of your eye, detailing the entire visual pathway and how it processes light. Next, using the iFS Advanced Bladeless Laser, your surgeon will create a micro-thin flap that’s personalized for every patient. Lastly, an ultra-precise cool-beam laser is used to reshape the cornea to the desired curvature.

During a PRK procedure, the first few steps are the same. Instead of creating a flap, your surgeon gently removes the top layer of the cornea prior to delivering your personalized treatment. While recovery time differs from LASIK, the results are comparable.

PRK vs LASIK Recovery

LASIK or PRK sye surgery recoveryLASIK has a shorter recovery than a PRK procedure. Typically, you can return to normal activities within 24 hours. You will have post-operative instructions to follow for a few weeks following surgery to help promote healing and reduce the risk of infection.

PRK has a longer recovery time. You may experience some pain and discomfort for a few days post-surgery. Your vision may be hazy at first and begin to clear between 3-5 days. Like with LASIK, you will have some post-operative medications and instructions to help your eyes heal. It can take up to a month for full recovery from PRK procedures.

Schedule a Consultation to Determine If Laser Eye Surgery Is Right For You Today

If you are considering laser eye surgery to reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts, schedule a LASIK consultation at one of our offices. Our ophthalmologists can determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or PRK as an alternative option. We will do our best to help you find the best solution for your vision needs.


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