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How is PRK different from LASIK?

By Kristina Oneill on April 01, 2013

 

How is the PRK procedure different from the LASIK procedure?  Many patient's want the answer to this question.  Most patients seem to have heard about LASIK, yet they know very little about PRK.  Sometimes patients even view PRK as a lesser procedure.  PRK is a safe and extremely effective procedure for patients who do not qualify as a good LASIK candidate.  People who are best suited for PRK are patients who have thin corneas.  PRK and LASIK mainly differ in the way that the doctor is able to expose the patient's deeper corneal surface that is to be reshaped in order to correct the visual problem.

The outer layer of the cornea called the epithelium, is a soft, rapidly regrowing layer of the eye.  The deeper layers of the cornea, as opposed to the outer epithelium layer, are developed early in life and have limited regenerative capacity.  With PRK, the corneal epithelium is removed gently, which allows your surgeon to reshape the deeper layer of the cornea and correct your vision.  The epithelium cells begin to regenerate after the PRK procedure.  It takes time for the epithelium cells to grow back so your surgeon places a clear bandage contact lens on your eye for 3 to 5 days.  It is true that PRK patients generally have a longer healing process than a LASIK patient, however Dr. Holzman prescribes medication, Vitamin C and Omega 3's to help aid in the healing process.  The PRK and the LASIK patient achieve the same outcome visually once the healing process is complete.

The PRK procedure is distinctly different from LASIK (Laser-Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis), because Dr. Holzman uses an Intralase laser to create an epithelial flap instead of removing the epithelium cells to expose the deeper corneal surface.   LASIK (Laser-Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis), is faster in the healing process because the Intralase laser creates the epithelial flap instead of removing the epithelium cells to expose the deeper layers of the cornea that need to be reshaped for better vision.  This means that the epithelium cells only need to grow back around the flap diameter.  This is why LASIK is known as a more instant healing process.  The main concern for all patients is to do what is safest for your eyes.  Do your research on both PRK and LASIK.  Both procedures are proven life changers!

 

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