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What's the Difference Between LASIK and PRK?

What's the Difference Between LASIK and PRK?

If you’ve worn glasses for years — perhaps since childhood — you may be thinking that now’s the time to have an operation to correct your vision. You’re longing to be free of your lifetime accessory. 

Perhaps your problem is distance vision, or nearsightedness. Your parents discovered that you couldn’t see the board when you were in grade school. Without glasses, you can’t see road signs when you need to turn until it’s too late. 

Or you might have a problem with seeing anything that’s close up; you need glasses to read or do manual projects because you’re farsighted. Maybe your vision blurs whether an object is up close or far away; you likely have an astigmatism. 

If you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism in your eyes, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Khachikian can surgically correct your vision so you likely won’t have to wear glasses — or if you do need them, you only require reading glasses. 

You’ve heard that LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, only takes minutes and offers fast recovery. However, not everyone is a candidate for laser vision correction. But don’t despair. You can still achieve better vision with a different type of surgery called PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy. 

The good news is that both types of surgeries provide excellent results. So what are the differences between these two options?

Difference in surgical method 

Both LASIK and PRK reshape your cornea to correct your vision. During LASIK, Dr. Khachikian corrects the shape of your cornea with a laser by making a small incision so the laser can do its work. PRK surgery removes your epithelium, the thin layer of outermost cells of your cornea, so he can reshape it.

Difference in recovery time 

LASIK recovery is fast, and there’s no real down time. Because you’ve just had surgery, though, we recommend waiting a day or two before you attempt to drive. You might feel like your eyes are gritty or dirty for a few hours after the operation, so Dr. Khachikian gives you eye drops if you need them.  

Recovery from PRK surgery normally requires about 4-5 days. It may take more time for your vision to become completely clear. Dr. Khachikian prescribes pain medication, as you may need it. 

After PRK, Dr. Khachikian places a contact lens over your cornea to protect it. At your one-week follow-up appointment, he removes the contact. You’ll always need to wear good quality sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays after PRK surgery in order to avoid corneal scarring.  

Why might you need PRK instead of LASIK? 

If you have an autoimmune condition, if your corneas aren’t thick enough, or if your vision isn’t stable and your prescription changes frequently, you’re likely not a good candidate for LASIK. Dr. Khachikian discusses PRK surgery with you as a viable alternative that can give you comparable results to LASIK surgery.  

If you’re considering vision correction surgery and want to learn more about PRK and LASIK, call Stephen Khachikian, MD, or book an appointment online. You’ll be able to get rid of your glasses and see through new eyes.

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