While everyone is clamoring to correct their vision with LASIK eye surgery, there are factors that may keep some people from being able to safely undergo the surgery. Luckily, if you have been told you are not a good candidate for LASIK, you still have options. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a common alternative to LASIK surgery. Our doctors in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre strive to offer the provide the best vision correction results possible – and sometimes this means suggesting a surgery other than LASIK.
The Difference between LASIK and PRK
The main difference between LASIK and PRK is that during PRK, the thin top layer of the cornea (the epithelium) is completely removed. During LASIK surgery, the epithelium is not completely removed, but instead a thin flap is created on the surface of the eye. Both procedures are considered safe, but PRK is safer for some people. For instance, if you have certain factors that increase your chance of flap complications post-LASIK, our doctors will suggest PRK to eliminate this chance altogether.
Why Choose PRK?
Most people choose PRK when they are told they cannot safely undergo LASIK surgery. However, this does not mean that they are settling for a second-best procedure. PRK is widely considered a safe and effective procedure, delivering the same end results as LASIK surgery. If you wanted LASIK but were told that you would not make a good candidate, PRK may be for you.
PRK Recovery Time
Another factor that differentiates LASIK from PRK is the recovery period. LASIK recovery is generally quicker and comfortable than PRK recovery. The recovery time for PRK is an average of four days to a week. The recovery period is longer than LASIK because the outer epithelium layer needs to regrow over the cornea. During recovery, you may experience mild discomfort and sensitivity that will disappear upon full recovery.
Reasons PRK May Work Better for You
LASIK surgery is an amazing procedure, but it is not ideal for everyone. PRK provides an excellent option for those who are looking for LASIK results, but cannot safely undergo the procedure for a multitude of reasons. Our doctors at Eye Care Specialists may tell you that you are not a good candidate for LASIK for any of these reasons:
- Thin corneas due to conditions such as keratoconus
- Severe astigmatism
- Chronic dry eye disease
- Previous eye surgery/injury