Difference between PRK and LASIK: Pros, Cons, Procedure & Cost

Difference between PRK and LASIK: Pros, Cons, Procedure & Cost

Oct 01, 2022

What is PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)?

PRK is laser eye surgery that corrects vision problems. It is similar to LASIK surgery, but there are some important differences. First, with PRK, the PRK surgeon near you does not create a flap in the cornea. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is removed. This exposes the underlying tissue, which is then reshaped with the laser.

Because no flap is created, PRK has often been considered a safer option for people who are at risk for complications from LASIK surgery, such as those with thin corneas or dry eyes.

Before undergoing the PRK laser eye surgery, you must be at least 18 years old, have excellent eye health, not be pregnant, and have had a stable eye prescription for one year.

The doctor will numb the eyelids and hold them in place during the procedure. After the patient focuses on the laser, a special brush or blade will remove the epithelial layer of the cornea. The surgeon will then reshape the cornea using a computer-controlled pulse of light energy.

What is LASIK?

LASIK corrects vision problems and involves using a laser to change the shape of the cornea. LASIK can treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

It is relatively quick and painless, and most people see a significant improvement in their vision after the procedure.

Before your surgery, you’ll meet your surgeon and go through a consultation. He will evaluate your eye’s shape, thickness, pupil size, refractive error, and tear film. Our eye doctor in Monterey, CA may recommend a preventive treatment to prevent dryness of the eyes.

LASIK vs. PRK Differences

While both LASIK and PRK have a proven track record, each has its pros and cons:

The Procedure

Both PRK and LASIK are refractive eye surgeries. However, while LASIK creates a thin flap in the cornea, PRK removes the outer layer, which will grow back over time.

PRK and LASIK procedures begin with an ophthalmologist numbing your eyes with eye drops. The surgeon will also place drops to numb the corneal tissue. In the LASIK procedure, the surgeon will cut a flap into the epithelium, allowing the surgeon to move the layer of tissue underneath. In PRK, the epithelium remains attached to the cornea, but the surgeon will remove a larger portion of tissue and reshape the rest of the cornea.

Side Effects

After both LASIK and PRK procedures, there may be some temporary side effects. Both patients should wear special eye protection and take prescription eye drops. LASIK patients must wear protective glasses or sunglasses for a few days after surgery.

Although PRK is generally considered the safest option, there are risks, such as double vision, severe dry eye, and permanent changes in night vision. Before electing either procedure, patients should carefully consider the risks and benefits and consult our PRK specialist in Monterey about whether PRK is right for them.

Safety

PRK

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) has proven safe and effective. Some patients may experience sensitivity to light, minor discomfort, and temporary blurred vision for a few weeks. However, the pain is mild and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.

LASIK

While LASIK is safe, there may be complications like temporary loss of vision and, in extreme cases, blindness. The surgery can also damage the outer flap of the cornea. The rate of these complications varies with the type of surgery, patient, and surgeon’s experience. If the flap becomes detached or damaged during surgery, the eye will no longer be able to focus properly.

Cost

The cost of LASIK and PRK surgery depends on several factors. These factors include the surgeon’s level of experience and geographic location.

On average, LASIK costs between 2,000 to 3,000 per eye. Unfortunately, most insurance companies regard the procedure as cosmetic or elective and do not cover it.

Generally, PRK is cheaper than LASIK, costing about $2,000 to $4,000 for both eyes. However, similar to LASIK, most insurance companies do not cover it.

LASIK Pros and Cons

Pros

  • LASIK is a quick and safe procedure, lasting for about 20 minutes.
  • Furthermore, it has been reported that about 90 percent of the people who undergo the procedure attain a 20/20 vision, and more than 99 percent report a 20/40 vision or better.
  • LASIK is a convenient procedure.
  • It helps change the eyes permanently and offers permanent improvements in eyesight.

Cons

  • The primary side effect is visual distortion. Although this complication can be temporary, it can cause significant discomfort.
  • Other side effects include dry eyes, glare, halos, and starbursts.
  • A few patients may also experience chronic pain and detached retinas. Some people may also experience glares and halo lights at night, which can improve in 6 to 12 months.

PRK Pros and Cons

Pros

  • PRK is reported to have a high success rate, with 90 percent of the people reporting a 20/40 vision or better without using contacts or glasses.
  • However, patients may need glasses when reading or vision declines because of age.
  • It helps accurately correct nearsightedness.
  • This procedure is technically simpler than some other procedures.

Cons

  • The procedure has a few drawbacks, too, as it causes cloudiness of the cornea, infection, and halo effects.
  • There’s also a risk of under or overcorrection of the vision, which can be corrected with contacts, glasses, or surgery.

Schedule an Appointment

Call us or book a consultation with Eye MD Monterey for more information about LASIK and PRK laser eye surgery in Monterey, CA, and how they are done.

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