Everyone has heard of LASIK surgery, and more than 300,000 people benefit from it each year. PRK laser eye surgery actually came out first so is a few years older. So let’s look at LASIK vs. PRK eye surgery to discover which option might work best for you.
LASIK vs. PRK Eye Surgery
Both LASIK and PRK are forms of laser refractive eye surgeries that may correct vision to 20/20 in most patients. Both have risks associated with them but are generally considered to be extremely safe for most patients. While we compare the pros and cons, remember that no one but you and your doctor can come to a decision about what is best for you.
LASIK EYE SURGERY
LASIK surgery involves a surgeon utilizing two lasers in order to reshape your cornea. First, a femtosecond laser is used to create a flap in the outer portion of your eye, the flap is then lifted back and out of the way before a second laser (excimer laser) is used to reshape the cornea by removing tissue. Once that is completed, the flap is put back into position. The light will then focus better on the retina at the back of the eye, thus correcting your vision.
LASIK eye surgery is quick and painless as your eye is numbed with topical anesthetic eye drops. Your eye is held open for you so you don’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure. Usually the surgery is completed in around 10-15 minutes for both eyes, and you will see 50% better immediately when you sit up from the laser bed.
Pros of LASIK Eye Surgery
One of the first major benefits of LASIK eye surgery is that it has been shown to be a safe and effective procedure. There are low rates of side effects, and most of those are mild. It is so effective that 90% of people who have it done end with 20/40 or better vision.
Advances in technology have also improved outcomes by being able to provide a detailed map of the cornea to surgeons. This is called Topography-guided LASIK eye surgery. This has come together to make LASIK surgery a cutting-edge procedure that has only improved over time. There have also been advances in the recovery and treatment of LASIK patients
Cons of LASIK Eye Surgery
The primary cons of LASIK eye procedures are mild side effects. Dry and burning eyes can happen and usually start to improve at about 3 months – with return to your “baseline” at 6 months, though it can persist longer.
There is also a well-reported prevalence of night halos and glare around lights for the first 4-6 weeks after the procedure. This side effect also often goes away, but in rare cases, it can persist long term and become something that the patient will have to deal with. Some patients have these symptoms even before they have had LASIK eye surgery so should expect these to persist after. There is also regular burning, itching, and blurriness for a few days after the procedure is done.
Recovery From LASIK
Recovery from LASIK surgery is often fast and complete, taking only a couple days before the vision becomes clear. You’ll still need to worry about protecting your eyes, not rubbing them, and using sunglasses for one week after the surgery. Your doctor will help you deal with these regular after-effects of the procedure.
PRK EYE SURGERY
PRK eye surgery is another laser procedure in which an excimer laser is used to remove tissue to reshape your cornea after first an abrasion is created to gain access to this tissue. Your eyes are numbed and held open for you so you don’t have to worry about blinking.
The eye surgery takes less than 10 minutes total for both eyes, and when comparing LASIK to PRK eye surgery, the speed of completion is but one difference. Once your eye has been reshaped it will be able to more easily focus light onto the back of your eye and thus provide clearer vision without glasses.
Pros of PRK Surgery
PRK surgery is a quick and easy procedure. It is also able to be done on those with thin corneas or other conditions that could make LASIK an improper choice for them. The outcomes are virtually identical to LASIK as well, so 90% or more end with 20/40 or 20/20 vision. One advantage of PRK over LASIK is that there is no flap. For those patients who are at high risk for eye trauma and the concern about flap movement, PRK could be a better laser eye surgery option.
Cons of PRK Surgery
The recovery time is slower than with LASIK. While you may notice better vision fairly quickly, it can take up to 3 months for your eyes to heal from PRK surgery. It also comes with the same possibility of side effects, like halos and unusual light glares as well as burning sensations or other pain.
Recovery From PRK Surgery
After PRK you will have a clear soft contact lens on your eye which acts as a bandage to help the cornea heal faster. This will help to protect the eye against further damage from your blinking eyelid while the abrasion is present. The recovery period is slower than LASIK, with some people taking months before they feel fully healed from the procedure – although they are functional and back to work after one week depending on their original prescription.
In 2020, LASIK surgery costs in the United States were about $2,246 per eye on average. It’s important to note that the cost of LASIK Surgery has gone up slightly as the technology has advanced. In 2018, a similar study was conducted, and the cost of LASIK surgery was about $2,199 per eye. Investing in new technology costs money and these costs are passed on to patients in the form of higher costs. This can change depending on where you have your work done, but in general, you can expect prices around this level.
However, these prices can vary depending on different factors like the tools used in your procedure (how old/new is the laser technology being used?), geographical location, customer service experience and your surgeon’s experience. The type of insurance you have can also affect what the end total will be for you.
EYE SURGERY FOR YOU
When it comes down to LASIK vs. PRK eye surgery, there are a lot of things to consider. You need to make an informed decision alongside your doctor as to which procedure will work best for you.
If you want to make an appointment with one of the most experienced LASIK and PRK eye surgeons in the world, then contact us. We would love to answer any questions you may have about what you can expect and which procedure would work best for you.