LASIK is a safe, popular, and effective laser vision correction option that has helped millions of people see clearly without glasses or contacts. Dr. Andrew E. Holzman performs the surgery on countless patients in the greater Washington, DC area each year. When people are poor candidates for LASIK, Dr. Holzman may instead recommend PRK, another effective refractive surgery option.

There has been some discussion about the safety of PRK and LASIK, and which surgery may be safer. Let’s take a moment to consider the two procedures and why one may be more ideal for patients than the other.

The Differences Between PRK and LASIK

To understand the debate over safety, let’s first note the differences between PRK and LASIK and why that matters.

  • LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) – During LASIK, a small flap is created in the epithelium, which is the topmost portion of the cornea. The underlying shape of the cornea is revised using a laser. The epithelial flap is then set back in place to heal.
  • PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) – During PRK, the epithelium is completely removed. There is no flap to be set back down. The with the epithelium gone, the laser is used to reshape the cornea. The epithelium grows back in place on its own after a few days.

PRK was a precursor to LASIK and is still performed today.

Is PRK Better Than LASIK?

For some patients, PRK is a better option for vision correction than LASIK. Since each patient’s eyes and lifestyle are different, the surgeries can meet different needs. This is why the consultation process at our Washington, DC eye care center is so crucial. We can carefully examine your eyes and determine which surgery is better suited to your needs.

When PRK May Be More Ideal Than LASIK

PRK tends to be preferable to LASIK in the following situations:

  • Patients with Thin or Irregularly Shaped Corneas – To avoid flap complications from LASIK surgery, patients with thin or irregularly shaped corneas will typically undergo PRK instead.
  • Participants in Contact and Combat Sports – Following LASIK, damage to the healed corneal flap can occur of the face or eye area is struck hard or repeatedly. People in martial arts, boxing, MMA, or full-contact sports may want to consider PRK to avoid these issues.

With the above in mind, we should note that LASIK is still performed without complications on members of the military and astronauts.

Are Both Laser Eye Surgery Procedures Safe?

Yes, both LASIK and PRK are safe options for laser visions correction. One may be more ideal for your needs, but both are able to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts and have high rates of patient satisfaction. Complication rates for both surgeries are very low.

Learn More About Laser Vision Correction

For more information about LASIK, PRK, and your many other options for vision correction, be sure to contact an experienced board-certified refractive surgeon. You can reach our Washington, DC office by phone at (703) 552-5221.

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