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What’s the Difference Between LASIK and PRK?


What is the difference between these two procedures, and which one would work for you?

At LASIK Vision Centers of Cleveland, we encourage everyone that we consult with to do some research on LASIK surgery before coming in for a consultation. This helps you come up with some questions for us so that we can help you be completely comfortable with our process. After checking into LASIK a little more thoroughly, our patients find a procedure that appears in searches called PRK. They appear to be similar, and in some ways they are. But, they are different, and they are right for different populations of people. Let’s look at PRK and LASIK and give you some guidance as to what you need to consider when deciding between the two procedures.


PRK: What does it mean?

PRK stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy. PRK involves removing the cornea’s outer layer entirely before using lasers to reshape the tissue beneath to enhance visual acuity. Eventually, the layer grows back over the tissue. 


So, what is LASIK?

During LASIK surgery, a thin flap is created on the cornea, so it can be pulled back, allowing access to the underlying tissue. The flap can’t be seen by other people and, eventually, it will secure itself back to the eye, but it will always remain. 


Which one should I get?

This is a little more complicated question, and it does take some consideration of factors to answer. People with a stronger prescription might need to have PRK because of how their eye is shaped. A person with a strong Rx is unlikely to have much residual cornea left to reattach after reshaping during LASIK. Since there isn’t much tissue to reconnect to, that person’s eye might be better suited to have the outer layer removed and regrown with PRK.

Healing time is a factor. One of our most commonly asked questions is How long is this going to keep me down? Recovery after LASIK is usually fast. Your vision is back within hours. With PRK, you’ve got a large portion of your vision back in a few days, and within a month, you’re just about 100%. That means that you will be off the roads for a bit, but that downtime is much shorter with LASIK.

LASIK patients must be careful not to rub their eyes for a few days after the surgery for safety, but some extra precautions have to be taken by PRK patients. PRK patients have to be careful not to expose their eyes to the bright sun for a month to 6 weeks after surgery. Being exposed to bright light can leave them prone to hazy vision and negate the positive results of the surgery. 

In some instances, PRK can be less expensive because it doesn’t take as long to perform as LASIK, but to many patients, that downtime isn’t worth the savings. 


Without a consultation, it can be tough for us to tell you whether LASIK is right for you. Schedule an appointment to meet with our team and let us help you make the decision that’s right for you! We’ve helped thousands of patients make the right choice, and we believe you’re up next. Contact LVC of Cleveland today to get started!

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