Which is Right for Me: LASIK or PRK?

When most patients begin to consider vision correction surgery, LASIK is the procedure that typically comes to mind. While LASIK is extremely effective at reducing visual refractive errors, this laser procedure is not always best for every patient. Fortunately, at The Eye Institute of Utah, we also offer PRK and other LASIK alternatives, such as the Visian ICL®, refractive lens exchange, and corneal inlays, to help as many patients as possible minimize their dependence on prescription eyewear.

PRK (photo refractive keratectomy) is a laser vision correction procedure that is very similar to LASIK. The first step in LASIK surgery involves the creation of a corneal flap on the front surface of the eye using a femtosecond laser. With PRK, no corneal flap is created. Instead, the top surface layer of the cornea (called the epithelium) is removed using a diluted chemical solution. Then, the surgeon uses an excimer laser to reshape the exposed corneal surface to correct vision. After PRK surgery, the surgeon will place a contact lens on the eye to act as a bandage while the epithelium heals. PRK surgery does involve a longer recovery time compared to LASIK, and it is normal to experience some irritation, discomfort, and light sensitivity for the first days after surgery. It may also take several few weeks for PRK patients to achieve their optimal vision results.

Although PRK usually entails more downtime than LASIK, it is often a better choice for patients who have chronic dry eye or thinner corneas. On the other hand, many patients with severe refractive errors or vision disorders who are not eligible for either LASIK or PRK may be candidates for the Visian ICL®. The ICL is an implantable collamer lens that does not require any permanent modification of the cornea, and it is a completely reversible procedure (if necessary). ICL surgery can also be ideal for patients with moderate to severe nearsightedness, thin corneas, or dry eyes. During the consultation process, one of our eye doctors will perform an exam, discuss your vision goals, and determine which vision correction procedure can best suit your needs. If you would like to schedule a consultation at The Eye Institute of Utah, please contact us today.

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