PRK and LASIK — What’s the Difference

LasikEveryone knows about LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) eye surgery. It can take a person who has lived his or her entire life dependent on glasses to see the alarm clock and give that person perfect vision in just a matter of minutes.

But sometimes our Central Valley Eye Medical Group patients don’t quite fit as candidates for LASIK. In those cases we often perform a similar laser surgery known as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). After LASIK, PRK is the second most common type of refractive eye surgery.

Why can’t some people have LASIK?

Although it is rare, some people don’t qualify as good candidates for LASIK. Some of these patients have larger pupils or thin corneas that do not work for the LASIK procedure.

What’s the difference between LASIK and PRK?

In LASIK, a flap is created on the outer cornea by a laser microkeratome. This flap is then gently folded back to expose the underlying surface of the cornea. A computer-controlled amount of laser energy is then used to remove the desired amount of cornea tissue to correct the shape of the cornea and create vision correction. Corneas that aren’t the correct shape create refraction problems that lead to issues such as near- or far-sightedness. Once the cornea tissue is removed, the corneal flap is placed back into its original position and allowed to heal. No sutures are needed. The whole process only takes seconds, and the patient experiences significant improvement in their vision anywhere from one to five days after the procedure.

In PRK, the corneal epithelium is removed and discarded, unlike in LASIK where a flap is made and later placed back down. Since this layer is removed in PRK, the eye has to regenerate those cells in recovery. Once the corneal epithelium is removed, the laser is then used to reshape the cornea, as is done in LASIK. Recovery isn’t quite as fast with PRK as LASIK, but the results of the procedures are similar.

Can’t have LASIK? See clearly with PRK

So, if you don’t qualify for LASIK, PRK is a similar surgery that will provide similar results. We’ll discuss your options when you come in for your consultation. If you’re tired of glasses or contacts, call us at (800) 244-9907 and let’s talk.

Posted in: LASIK


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Dear Friends,

We at Central Valley Eye hope that you and your families are well. To continue to protect the health of our patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, we are taking all reasonable precautions as we provide the eye care that our community needs:

  • All patients and staff must now wear masks within the clinic building. Please bring one from home.
  • Whenever appropriate, we are rescheduling patients with fever, cough, or cold symptoms
  • We have adjusted our schedule to decrease the number of patients in our waiting rooms
  • We have increased our already strict sanitizing practices
  • Whenever appropriate, we are diverting visits to telemedicine (by cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop). Please contact us for further details at 209-952-3700.

If you are unsure whether to come in for your visit, please call us.

Following state guidelines, the doctors at Central Valley Eye have recently resumed performing elective surgeries. Our surgery coordinators will be contacting patients to reschedule the surgeries that needed to be postponed. We appreciate your patience during this time.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 209-952-3700.

Warmest regards,

Brandy Simpson
Practice Manager
Central Valley Eye Medical Group, Inc.