LASIK and PRK are both safe and effective methods for improving vision. Both surgeries have their own benefits and complications to consider, and not everyone is a good candidate for one or both types of laser eye surgery. It's important to have realistic expectations about laser eye surgery, as your vision may not be perfect after the procedure and you may need a second surgery. Before analyzing the differences between the two laser eye surgeries, it's important to understand the similarities that PRK and LASIK share.
In LASIK surgery, the flap is lifted to expose the inner layer of the cornea, the excimer laser remodels the cornea, and then the flap returns to its original place at the end of the procedure. While PRK may take longer to heal compared to LASIK surgery, similar results should be expected over time with either procedure, both in terms of improved vision and long-term recovery. The recovery time from PRK is slightly longer than with LASIK because of the time it takes for epithelial cells to regenerate, and it can cause more discomfort than LASIK.The key difference between LASIK and PRK is how you access the inner stromal layer of the cornea that lies below the epithelium. In LASIK surgery, a flap is created in order to access this layer, while in PRK surgery, the entire layer of epithelial cells is removed.
This means that if you have a higher refractive error, you're more likely to need a second LASIK or PRK procedure.If you're active, you may prefer LASIK surgery because you'll have clear vision faster. However, it's important to note that LASIK does not stop you from developing presbyopia as you age, which means you may still need reading glasses as time goes on. Additionally, because of the removal of the corneal surface in PRK, it takes a little longer (and there is slight pain) compared to LASIK.Choosing between LASIK and PRK comes down to meeting certain medical criteria and, often, personal preferences. It's important to consult with your doctor to determine which type of laser eye surgery is right for you.