WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRK AND LASIK? By Dr. Lisa Bennett, Ophthalmologist at Madison Medical Eye Care with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Most have heard of LASIK but PRK is less well known, even though it has been around longer. LASIK stands for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis and PRK stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy. You can see why we use the abbreviations!
With LASIK we use two lasers instead of one. The first makes a tiny flap on the surface of the eye which is then gently lifted. A second laser contours the surface of the eye to improve your vision without glasses. The tiny flap is returned to its original position and there is relatively little, if any, pain. With PRK we start by removing the very thin outside layer of your cornea, called the epithelium. Then, as with LASIK, a laser is used to contour the surface of the eye. We place a contact lens over the eye to aid in healing. There may be some pain as the eye heals.
PRK first became FDA approved in the U.S. in 1995. So at first this was the only laser refractive procedure available for those who wanted to improve their vision without glasses. While it was somewhat painful, the results were much better than with Radial Keratotomy (RK) which was the only other option at the time. By 1999, LASIK became FDA approved representing a major improvement over PRK as far a quicker healing and very little pain.
While not generally our first choice, PRK may be the only laser refractive option for some patients. If your cornea is too thin for LASIK, many can still have an excellent refractive result with PRK. Instead of very good vision on day one as with LASIK, it may take 3-4 days but you still get there. Which is right for you? We can let you know at your no-obligation, complimentary, personalized LASIK screening exam. Call today to get started on improving your outlook on life!
Dr. Lisa Bennett is an Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) specializing in medical and surgical eye care such as blade-free LASIK and small incision cataract surgery. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.MadisonMedicalEyeCare.com.