Apr 20, 2020

PRK or LASIK? What’s the difference?

Most people have heard of LASIK, and some PRK, but what’s the difference?

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy was the original procedure that uses a laser to reshape the cornea, giving patients clear vision without the aid of glasses or contact lenses.  But in its original form, it involved a very uncomfortable few days of recovery.

Enter LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, a procedure which involves an extra step of cutting a thin flap under which the laser energy is applied.  LASIK’s main advantage is a faster return of normal vision along with less discomfort in the first few days of healing.

For Justin Bell, a Nurse Practitioner in Crossville, PRK was recommended for very specific reasons.

“I’ve been wearing glasses or contacts since I’ve been in seventh grade,” says Justin Bell, NP-C
“I’ve got to the point in my life where I’m ready to fix my vision for good, it’s exciting to not have to put contacts in for the rest of my life.”

Justin continues, “Contacts are so cumbersome and there is always a chance for infection, I’m excited to finally get up in the morning and immediately start my day.”

PRK, however, has enjoyed a resurgence in the last few years.  Its advantages include less expense to the patient (to the tune of several hundred dollars per eye), less concern about long term complications associated with thinner corneas, and no worries about cornea flap related complications (since there is no flap).  In addition, prior issues of postoperative discomfort have been dramatically reduced. 

“In the case of Justin, we chose PRK because we felt it offered him the best outcome with the safest profile,” stated Larry E. Patterson, M.D.

Both LASIK and PRK are safe and effective, you can ask your surgeon which option might be best for you. LASIK still offers clearer vision the first few days, once healed both procedures give equivalent results.

See our full list of services here and schedule a consultation to see what procedure is right for you!

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