1. Suitable Patients
Determining if a patient is a good candidate for any vision correction procedure is mission critical to its success. Like many things in life, laser vision correction surgery is not “one size fits all.” When being evaluated by an experienced, qualified vision correction surgeon, he / she may recommend PRK LASIK over traditional LASIK. The main difference between PRK LASIK and traditional LASIK is the manipulation of a patient's corneal tissue. When a patient has been deemed fit for laser eye surgery, the ophthalmologist may determine PRK LASIK is more appropriate based on one to several factors. Examples of such factors include:
- Previous corneal damage and / or scarring via injury, infection or age that creates corneal fragility
- Increased risk for long-term dryness and / or issues with eye dryness before the procedure
- Employment that includes high risks for ocular injuries
- Corneal thickness that is adequate for flap creation
- General corneal irregularities that may pose a problem with a traditional LASIK procedure
2. Flap Versus No-Flap
The overarching difference between PRK LASIK and LASIK surrounds the cornea and the way it is manipulated during the procedure. Traditional LASIK vision correction procedures create a small, thin flap close to the corneal surface and slightly reshape the eye's underlying tissue with a laser beam. Think of it like opening a book up in the middle, removing a few pages, and closing the book back up. While PRK LASIK utilizes the exact same laser technology vs. Traditional LASIK, PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) does not create a corneal flap as a first step. Instead, a very small area of corneal skin is quickly and painfully removed to allow for the same laser to then be used to correct the vision in the tissue underneath. Using the same book analogy, a small area of the cover of the book is taken away and then starting with page one, a few pages off the book are removed and then the cover regenerates itself in a few days. After PRK LASIK surgery, a contact lens is placed on the eye for a few days to allow new tissue to quickly grow back underneath it.
3. Recovery Time
This recovery time is accompanied with taking Vitamin C and using eye drops. The final end result of clear vision when comparing PRK LASIK to traditional LASIK is usually the same when reputable vision correction surgeons perform the procedure. While PRK LASIK surgery does take a little longer for full vision perfection vs. traditional LASIK, most PRK patients are seeing generally well enough to drive and work in just a few days after the procedure.
It is important to keep in mind that neither surgery is necessarily a “better” procedure than the other. The key factor in assessing whether traditional LASIK or PRK LASIK is appropriate is based on the individual patient. Both LASIK vision correction procedures are viable options for patients who are fit candidates.