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PRK vs LASIK: What Are The Differences?

8 February 2022

Are you becoming increasingly conscious of the fact that your eyesight is no longer as sharp as it was? Perhaps you’re tired of the headaches caused by constantly having to squint to read small print? Or maybe the daily chore of putting your contact lenses in – and taking them out – is getting on your nerves?

It’s a sad fact that our eyesight naturally worsens as we get older. However, there is something you can do about that. And it doesn’t necessarily involve relying on glasses or contact lenses for life.

PRK vs LASIK – what are the differences?

If you’re researching laser eye surgery you’ve probably noticed there are several different types. Here, we’re going to take a closer look at a couple of those surgeries and explore the differences between them; in this case PRK eye surgery and LASIK laser eye surgery.

PRK is the oldest of the eye surgery technologies and was developed as a method of sight correction before the LASIK or LASEK procedures. While we now predominantly offer LASIK and LASEK at Optegra, we’ll explain the differences between the procedures below as our patients do frequently ask us about it.

LASIK vs LASEK vs PRK

  • LASIK is the most popular form of eye surgery and is chosen for its effectiveness in treating long- and short-sightedness and astigmatism. The painless procedure takes around 15 minutes per eye and most patients enjoy results in just 24 hours.
  • LASEK eye surgery comes with a slightly longer recovery and can sometimes be a little uncomfortable for a couple of days after the procedure. It is, however, a good option for people who have thin or flat corneas as this usually makes them unsuitable for LASIK.
  • PRK eye surgery can also treat long- and short-sightedness and astigmatism. The procedure itself is quick and painless, however its longer recovery time of approximately one month means many people opt for LASIK or LASEK surgery instead.

Should I choose PRK eye surgery instead of LASIK or LASEK?

Like any procedure there are pros and cons, depending on the patient, their health concerns, and their circumstances.

Despite its longer recovery time, PRK laser eye surgery, like LASEK, is a good alternative for anyone with flat or thin corneas. The results of both surgeries are long-lasting and patients will normally see a drastic improvement in their eyesight with either.

At Optegra, your consultant will consider the shape of your corneas to determine the most suitable treatment for you. Additionally, if recovery time is an important deciding factor, you might want to consider LASEK instead.

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    PRK eye surgery procedure

    PRK eye surgery is a surface laser treatment and involves completely removing the topmost layer of the cornea’s tissue before a laser is used to repair irregularities in the layers below. Afterwards, a bandage similar to a contact lens is placed over the cornea to enable the tissues to safely begin their healing process.

    In LASIK eye surgery, a flap is created in the cornea, the tissue below is repaired, and the flap is then replaced.

    PRK vs LASIK eye surgery recovery time

    The main difference between PRK eye surgery and LASIK surgery is the treatment profile and the post-procedure downtime. Increasingly people are choosing LASIK (or LASEK) because the recovery period is much quicker than with PRK.

    • LASIK recovery time is usually within a day or two with some patients reporting vastly improved eyesight the very next day. Mild irritation or discomfort may occur immediately after surgery but should dissipate very quickly.
    • PRK recovery time is longer, and the vision will be blurred for around a week following the procedure. Eyesight will be noticeably better right after the surgery however it may diminish until the eye heals in full in around a month’s time. PRK eye surgery requires regular check-ups with the surgeon and you might be advised not to drive until healing is complete.

    PRK vs LASIK costs

    Of course, the cost of surgery can vary greatly depending on the healthcare provider you choose. At Optegra, we offer single price packages that include the initial consultation, surgery, aftercare, and any follow up treatments – which are only necessary in a very small number of cases.

    One thing to consider is that PRK can be more expensive than LASIK because there are more post-procedure steps to take, such as checking in with your doctor while your eye heals, as well as the appointment to remove the bandage.

    PRK vs LASIK: pros and cons

    To summarise, if you have thin or flat corneas PRK can be considered as an alternative to LASIK eye surgery. It is a painless and safe procedure that offers outstanding results in the majority of cases where myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism have caused sight to deteriorate.

    If, however, it’s important that you experience as little downtime as possible and you need to return to normality within the next day or two you may prefer LASIK eye surgery instead.

    When it comes to LASIK vs LASEK vs PRK, the most important thing is to do your research and book a consultation with a professional who can help you decide the right path for you.

    At Optegra we offer free consultations with our caring and knowledgeable consultants. Get in touch today and see how we can help.

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