Woman holding glasses in front of Rockville, MD Eye Doctor office.

PRK vs. LASIK Process & Recovery

Woman holding glasses in front of Rockville, MD Eye Doctor office.

PRK vs. LASIK Process & Recovery

If you’ve been told you’re not a candidate for LASIK surgery, you’re not entirely out of options. Those who aren’t a good fit for LASIK will most likely qualify for an alternative vision correction surgery such as PRK (photorefractive keratectomy).

PRK is similar to LASIK, but it corrects different parts of the cornea. It’s not only an alternative for patients whose corneas are too thin for LASIK but also for those with dry eyes or diseases of the corneal surface. Keep reading to learn more about this process and what it can offer you compared to LASIK.

What Is PRK?

PRK is a refractive surgery that reshapes the cornea with a laser, so the light entering the eye is focused on the retina to produce clear images. This is slightly different compared to LASIK. Both procedures use a laser to clear the outer layer of your eye; LASIK creates a thin flap in the cornea, while PRK removes a cornea layer that grows back over time. This is what makes it a better option for those with thin corneas.

What Does PRK Surgery Entail?

Much like LASIK, a PRK procedure begins with numbing drops and a special eyelid holder to keep you from blinking. The surgeon then entirely removes the cornea’s outer layer (called the epithelial layer) to expose the area, whereas, in LASIK, a thin, hinged flap is created in the cornea. For PRK and LASIK, the excimer laser is used to sculpt the cornea and correct the refractive error.

The PRK surgery time is usually about 10 minutes per eye, while LASIK takes about 30 minutes for both eyes. Both procedures are considered equally safe and typically result in 20/20 or better vision without needing glasses or contacts.

How Long Is PRK Recovery?

PRK recovery time can vary from several days to several weeks, generally longer than a LASIK recovery (which some recover from within a few hours). Eyes may feel sore or scratchy, and halos or glare around lights at night may be an issue for a few days. To help protect your eyes and promote healing, your doctor will place a bandage contact lens in your eye.

With both procedures, it’s essential to minimize activity and sun exposure for at least the first week to avoid vision problems. And don’t rub your eyes, which can damage your cornea. Your doctor will review all of these guidelines with you to make sure you’re clear and comfortable.

Why Choose Visionary Eye Doctors for PRK?

Visionary Eye Doctors is proud to offer expert PRK procedures. As a member of the trials that culminated in the FDA approval of PRK, our own Dr. J. Alberto Martinez continues to be at the forefront of this leading-edge technology.

The first step in determining your candidacy for any procedure is to schedule a consultation and comprehensive eye exam with one of our experienced surgeons. We will establish if PRK is the best path for your long-term vision health by utilizing advanced diagnostic technology.

Ready to find out if you’re a candidate? Call our office today at 301-867-7920 to schedule a consultation with our expert surgeons. You can also schedule an appointment online.