Both of these procedures are considered elective procedures and are therefore generally paid out of pocket. LASIK is a well-known method, famous for its fast recovery time and its great success in improving the vision of millions of people; however, a less recognized but still effective option is photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), an old operation very similar to LASIK. While PRK requires a longer healing time, it can sometimes be a better operation for some people who may not be eligible for LASIK surgery. Although most people prefer LASIK surgery, PRK tends to be safer and more effective over time, as the surgeon will remove the entire outer layer of the cornea.
The problem with the flap is that it can be damaged if injured over time. If you're looking for a safer and more effective procedure, PRK is the best option for your eye surgery. It may seem that PRK would be the preferred corrective vision surgery because it does not require a corneal flap as occurs with LASIK surgery. PRK is the best option for eye surgery if you have farsightedness, and LASIK is only for myopia.
PRK is an older procedure in which an acid solution is used to remove corneal tissue before reshaping the surface of the eye with a laser. Both PRK and LASIK are outpatient procedures that will involve spending approximately one hour at the eye surgery center. If you have a history of dry eyes (or suspect that your eyes might dry out before or during surgery), PRK may also work better for you, since it doesn't require epithelial healing like LASIK does. A study published in the journal Ophthalmology revealed that some patients with PRK and some patients with LASIK reported worsening of glare, halo and double vision in one eye (monocular diplopia) after surgery, while other patients reported an improvement in these symptoms.
Your eye doctor or eye surgeon will need to do a complete eye exam and check your corneas to determine if you are a better candidate for PRK or LASIK. It's also more common for people with previous eye conditions or injuries to opt for PRK instead of LASIK surgery, as these patients tend to have thinner corneas and less tissue over their eyes. Before analyzing the differences between the two laser eye surgeries, it's important to understand the similarities that PRK and LASIK share. Because it can take a long time for the eye to fully heal after PRK, some surgeons prefer to perform surgery on one eye and then perform the procedure on the other eye a month or two later.
People in aviation, the military, or law enforcement who are considering laser eye surgery or LASIK should also know that laser eye surgery may not correct their vision according to the standards required by their profession. If you're a good candidate for LASIK surgery but want to avoid the risks associated with laser eye surgery, PRK may be the best option. Corrective eye surgery can be a real blessing, but you may wonder what is better with PRK than with PRK.