PRK vs. LASIK - Refractive Surgery Information

Created on: Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Refractive surgery has helped many patients at New England Eye Center enhance their vision and shed the need for contact lenses and eyeglasses. Most people are aware of Boston LASIK surgery, but there is another refractive surgery option to keep in mind as well. That surgery is called PRK.

So what is LASIK and what is PRK? Let's just break it down for you so you know what your options are.

What is LASIK?

LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It is a laser eye surgery option that is performed in order to correct the common refractive errors nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. During the LASIK surgery procedure, eye drops are first administered to numb the eyes. A thin flap is then made on the topmost layer of the cornea in order to access it and reshape it with a laser. The flap is then set down and the eye is allowed to heal.

What is PRK?

PRK stands for photo refractive keratectomy. Like LASIK, Boston PRK is a laser eye surgery option that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Where LASIK and PRK differ is in the creation of the corneal flap. In PRK, no flap is created. Rather, the surface layer of the cornea is removed in order to access the cornea and reshape it with a laser. This topmost layer of the cornea will regrow and heal on its own over the course of two or three days, but it is imperative that the patient follow doctor instructions after surgery is completed.

Is LASIK or PRK the right option for me?

The answer here is "It depends." Both LASIK and PRK are effective refractive surgery options, and the results of the two surgeries are comparable. The only difference is the recovery time following surgery. PRK is slightly longer and patients do report more discomfort after PRK than they would experience than if they underwent LASIK. The discomfort, however, is not severe by any means. If a patient is not a good candidate for LASIK, PRK may still be on the table.

If you want to learn more about the eye care options at New England Eye Center, please contact our Boston laser eye surgery office. We look forward to hearing from you.



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