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LASIK vs. PRK: Determining the Right Treatment to Enhance Your Eyesight

TLC Yonge Eglinton Laser Eye Centers® offers several laser vision correction options. LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) is the most popular treatment. You may also have heard of PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), a common alternative. Both procedures work similarly and can correct the same conditions. Nevertheless, LASIK is less invasive and results in a faster recovery time. PRK requires the complete removal of the corneal tissue, and healing takes longer. On the other hand, it may be more appropriate if you do not qualify for LASIK. The experienced surgeons at our Toronto, ON, area practice can explain more about LASIK vs. PRK. Then, after evaluating the structure of your eye and medical history, they can make an appropriate treatment recommendation.

Female refractive surgery patient lying under machine

Both PRK and LASIK involve reshaping of the cornea during a brief surgical procedure.

LASIK Surgery and Its Benefits

LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by improving the way that your eye refracts light. During LASIK, your doctor will make a small flap in the top layers of your cornea. Then, the doctor will use an excimer laser to carefully trim and reshape the underlying layers of tissue. In this way, your surgeon can improve light refraction, allowing it to pass correctly through your eye. At our practice, we proudly offer custom Wavefront LASIK. By creating a computerized map of your eye beforehand, we can calibrate the laser to meet its exact measurements.

Although it requires a lengthier recovery, PRK can be very beneficial if you do not qualify for LASIK. 

LASIK is one of the safest and most effective elective surgeries. Most patients experience dramatically improved vision, and many no longer need glasses or contacts at all. Because LASIK is so precise and minimally invasive, the recovery process is generally quick. After surgery, your doctor will lay the corneal flap back down over your eye, and it will heal naturally. You may experience some itching and irritation, but these effects will usually go away within a few days at the most. Your vision will typically become much sharper as soon as the following day.  

PRK Surgery and Its Benefits

PRK is the precursor to LASIK, and it works in many of the same ways. However, instead of creating a flap in your cornea, your doctor will actually remove the top layers of cells entirely. After this initial step, PRK surgery is almost identical to LASIK. Using an excimer laser, your doctor will reshape your cornea to improve light refraction. Afterwards, he or she will place a healing lens over your eye, which will feel similar to a contact. This device will offer protection over the next few days as the epithelial cells start to grow back.

PRK recovery takes longer than LASIK recovery. Your eye will start to heal quickly, but it may be several weeks before your vision starts to clear. It may be three to six months before your eyesight is completely stable. In most cases, you will not be able to drive for one to three weeks. At the same time, PRK can be very beneficial if you do not qualify for LASIK. Thanks to this treatment, you can still undergo refractive surgery. Through PRK, your doctor can also correct a previous unsuccessful laser eye surgery.

Which Is the Right Treatment for You?

To determine the most appropriate type of vision correction, your surgeon will carry out a complete eye exam. In particular, your doctor will consider your corneas. If you have thin or irregularly shaped corneas, you are likely a better candidate for PRK. This treatment may also be more suitable if you have large pupils, you suffer from dry eye, or you have had previous laser surgery. You may also be better suited to PRK if you have a job or enjoy activities that could compromise the cornea flap. If none of these conditions apply, your doctor will most likely recommend LASIK.

Learn More about LASIK vs. PRK

Find out more about the difference between LASIK and PRK. Contact us online to schedule a consultation at one of our four convenient locations. You can also call us toll-free at (866) 684-2020.