LASIK and PRK are both laser eye surgeries that share a common goal: to reduce or eliminate patients’ reliance on glasses and contact lenses through the reshaping of the corneas with an excimer laser. The use of wavefront technology has allowed both LASIK and PRK to become truly customized procedures that can correct not only common visual errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, with or without astigmatism, but also higher-order aberrations, or tiny imperfections in the shape of the cornea that are unique to each individual eye. Indeed, the only substantive difference between LASIK and PRK lies in how the layer of corneal tissue beneath the superficial epithelial layer is accessed. It is this layer – the stromal layer – that is reshaped during LASIK surgery.
Essentially, then, the issue of LASIK vs. PRK at our Austin, TX laser vision correction center, Broberg Eye Care, comes down to candidacy and personal preference. Some patients who are not good candidates for LASIK due to their having thin corneas may be good candidates for PRK, while other patients may prefer PRK simply because it does not require the creation of a corneal flap, which is the single most common source of complications associated with LASIK surgery.
To find out whether LASIK or PRK is right for you, we encourage you to contact Broberg Eye Care today.
LASIK Compared to PRK
As stated above, LASIK and PRK are identical procedures except in how the stromal layer of the cornea is accessed. During LASIK, a hinged flap is created in the cornea. This flap can be created using either a hand-held blade called a microkeratome or a highly precise laser. Blade-free custom LASIK is one of the safest, most dependable surgeries in modern medicine; however, the risk of flap complications, while low, still exists.
PRK eliminates this risk altogether by not requiring a corneal flap. Rather, the entire epithelial layer of the cornea is removed to reveal the stromal layer. So why then don’t more patients simply opt for PRK? Isn’t it the safer procedure?
Some patients decide that it is – and for patients with thin corneas or corneas of inconsistent thickness, it certainly is. However, it also involves a longer and less comfortable healing period than LASIK, and the best visual results take longer to achieve.
Ultimately, neither LASIK nor PRK is better or worse than the other. Both are relatively low-risk procedures when performed on suitable candidates, and both are capable of producing exceptional results. Modern technology has made both procedures safer and more dependable than ever before. Our doctors are extremely careful to screen patients to ensure their candidacy before recommending either procedure. Then they use the most advanced technologies and techniques to help ensure the best results possible.
Learn More about LASIK vs. PRK
If you would like to learn whether LASIK or PRK would be best suited to your particular case, we encourage you to schedule your initial consultation with one of the esteemed eye surgeons at Broberg Eye Care today.