How PRK Surgery Differs from LASIK

Serving Poughkeepsie, Fishkill and Nearby Areas of the Hudson Valley

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PRK and LASIK are both types of laser vision correction that can be used to address refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Both of these procedures utilize an excimer laser to sculpt underlying corneal tissue and improve vision. Both provide lasting and reliable results. Neither, however, is ideal for every patient.

Before and after LASIK simulated with a vision chart

Flap vs. No Flap

During LASIK vision correction, a small flap is created in the epithelium, providing access to the stroma and allowing for optimal sculpting of corneal tissue. There is no flap created during PRK. Instead, the entire epithelium is removed, giving full access to the inner layers of the cornea.

Patients with thin corneas may not be good candidates for LASIK surgery. Corneal thickness is not a concern with PRK. What’s more, flap complications, while uncommon, are possible following LASIK. There are no risks of flap complications with PRK.

Recovery

Following LASIK, the flap is put back in place where the body’s natural healing abilities will see it closed within hours. Because the flap created during LASIK surgery preserves the epithelial layer of the cornea, cells do not need to regenerate. This makes healing times faster following LASIK. Patients are usually able to resume most normal activities within one day of LASIK surgery.

Recovery from PRK requires a regeneration of epithelial cells, which can take one to two weeks. During this time, some discomfort is possible, though medications will be provided to help you address the itching and burning that may occur during PRK recovery.

While dressing is applied following PRK, having exposed corneal tissue increases the risk of postoperative infection. To help prevent complications following LASIK or PRK, it is very important that you follow all of your eye doctor’s pre and postoperative directions.

Results

Vision stabilization with LASIK is typically swift, though vision may continue to improve for three to six months. This is similar to PRK, although initial stabilization may take a bit longer due to the need for cell regeneration. With both procedures, most patients are able to return to “normal” after one to two weeks.

The results for PRK and LASIK are very similar. Data suggests that nearly all patients of laser vision correction achieve at least 20/40 visual acuity, with most achieving 20/20 or better. These results are as permanent as any vision correction can be, meaning they should not change until presbyopia sets in. After that point, even if you haven’t needed reading glasses before, you may need assistance with close up work. This can be discussed in greater detail during your time in our care.

Contact Seeta Eye Centers to Learn More

PRK and LASIK are both exceptional services that can provide lasting freedom from prescription eyewear. The best way to learn which may be right for your needs is by calling Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified ophthalmologists. We maintain offices in Fishkill and Poughkeepsie. We welcome patients from all surrounding areas.

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