PRK: A LASIK Alternative

When you make the decision to seriously consider having LASIK vision correction, you may be frustrated if you learn the procedure is not right for your eyes. However, that frustration may turn into renewed excitement if your eye doctor informs you that PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a better option – especially when you learn that you can achieve the same vision results with PRK.

PRK was actually the first type of vision correction procedure approved by the FDA in 1995 to reshape the cornea (even before LASIK). Since then millions of PRK procedures have been performed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, helping most patients see more clearly without glasses or contacts.

Patients who are not good candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas or other conditions may be good candidates for PRK and end up with clear vision like most LASIK patients.

How PRK Differs from LASIK

At the heart of the procedure, both LASIK and PRK involve the use of an excimer laser to remove tiny amounts of corneal tissue to create a more ideal shape and correct your refractive error. This allows light to focus on the retina for clear vision.

How your PRK doctor accesses this corneal tissue is where the two procedures differ: 

  • LASIK: your doctor creates a hinged corneal flap that is folded back for excimer laser treatment and then replaced on the cornea where it begins to heal immediately. There is a risk of flap complications with LASIK.
  • PRK: your doctor removes a thin layer of tissue on the cornea (the epithelium). After the excimer laser treatment is complete, the epithelium needs time to grow back, which typically takes 3-5 days.

Both PRK and LASIK are outpatient procedures. PRK will take slightly longer than LASIK, but the treatment is still typically under 30 minutes for most patients.

PRK Recovery

The recovery time for PRK is typically longer than with LASIK because of this regrowth period, and you may experience more discomfort during the healing process. Your final vision outcome will also take longer but 20/20 vision is often achieved with this procedure.

General PRK Requirements

At Atwal Eye Care, our doctors have performed thousands of PRK procedures since 1996. We take many conditions into consideration to ensure that your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure: simply needing glasses to see is not the only requirement.

  • 19 years or older
  • Stable vision prescription for at least one year
  • Free of eye disease or other interfering vision conditions
  • Proper corneal thickness
  • Good overall health
  • Realistic expectations
  • Full understanding of the potential risks

So, Which is Better: PRK or LASIK?

The answer to this question depends on your eye anatomy and eye health. Only a qualified, experienced ophthalmologist can perform the level of assessment needed to identify the right treatment for you. Our PRK doctors can do just that. Contact us today to schedule a PRK Consultation so you can learn more about your PRK candidacy. You can ask questions and learn more about our PRK technology, experience and results. We will be up-front and honest about your eye health, what to expect from PRK and the potential risks. Most importantly, we will let you know if PRK is a safe vision correction option for you.

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