LASIK vs. PRK: What’s Better For You?

If you’re living with myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism, you may be considering refractive surgery to improve your eyesight. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) are both effective treatments for improving your vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Which one is better for you? Read on to learn more about these procedures, their advantages and their differences.

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Preparing Patient for LASIK eye surgery on the Gold Coast

What is PRK and LASIK?

Although these procedures achieve the same goal of improving your eyesight, they have clear differences.

PRK involves removing the outer surface of the cornea (epithelium) to expose the underlying tissues. An eye surgeon will then use an excimer laser to reshape your cornea, allowing light to focus better on the retina and improve vision.

LASIK involves the surgeon creating a thin corneal flap which is lifted before any laser treatment is conducted. After treatment, the flap is placed back and starts to heal within a few hours.

What are the differences?

Research has found that people who have LASIK tend to experience less pain and recover more quickly. While the initial recovery after PRK is normally 4-5 days, LASIK patients can show real improvement a few hours following their procedure.

A surgeon may recommend PRK if you do not meet the requirements for LASIK.

It is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure before you make your decision and speak to your specialist.

Pros & Cons of PRK and LASIK

Advantages of PRK

  • Less invasive: As this procedure does not involve creating a corneal flap, there is less risk of removing excess tissue. This leads to a stronger eye than if the treatment had been performed with LASIK.
  • Easier to be eligible: It is suitable for people with thinner corneas, meaning you are more likely to qualify.
  • More affordable: Its lower cost can suit people on a tighter budget.
  • High chance of success: The results following the procedure are consistently excellent.

Advantages of LASIK

  • Fast recovery: You are likely to notice significantly better vision from the morning following the procedure. Most people can drive 12 hours after surgery.
  • Safe: The risk of corneal haze or scarring is reduced compared to PRK, particularly when treating large prescriptions.
  • High chance of success: The results following the procedure are consistently excellent.

Disadvantages of PRK

  • Longer recovery time: Full recovery can take between one and three months. More patients have blurry vision at 1 month after surgery compared to LASIK.
  • Side effects: There’s a slightly higher risk of infection (first 4-5 days) and blurry vision (first 1-3 months), and patients usually experience initial mild to moderate pain and light sensitivity.
  • Post-surgical dressing: You will need to wear a bandage contact lens after the procedure.

Disadvantages of LASIK

  • Dry eyes: While dry eyes will transiently increase with either procedure, it will normally take longer to resolve with LASIK compared to PRK.
  • Side effects: If you get a hit to your eye, particularly in the first 2 weeks following surgery, there is a risk your LASIK flap can get out of position. This would need to be fixed by your LASIK surgeon.
  • Eligibility: The procedure is unsuitable for you have a thin cornea or the shape of your cornea is not perfectly symmetrical.

Begin your journey to better vision with Pacific Eye Clinic

If you have a refractive error like myopia or astigmatism and want to explore your treatment and surgical options, come and visit us at Pacific Eye Clinic.

We’re a friendly, reliable and professional Gold Coast team headed by our fantastic laser and cataract surgeon, Dr Marcel Wei.

With our commitment to using only the most advanced techniques and technologies, and through our staff’s regular training and professional development, you can be confident that with us you’ll be in safe hands. Book an appointment for a comprehensive assessment and get one step closer to achieving your goal of improved eyesight. Contact us today on 07 5647 3484.

Author

Dr Marc Wei

Dr Marc Wei

Dr. Marc Wei is the principal specialist laser and cataract surgeon at Pacific Eye Clinic in Southport on the Gold Coast. He has 20 years of trusted experience in advanced laser cataract surgery and has completed more than 15,000 procedures over the course of his career.

Dr Marc Wei

Dr Marc Wei

Dr. Marc Wei is the principal specialist laser and cataract surgeon at Pacific Eye Clinic in Southport on the Gold Coast. He has 20 years of trusted experience in advanced laser cataract surgery and has completed more than 15,000 procedures over the course of his career.