PRK vs LASIK | Which One Is Best For You?

    Pool parties, watching 3D movies, swimming sessions with friends, and the most relatable one; wearing a mask with your glasses on, and then there’s this unwanted, irritating fog from nowhere. Problems are many, you know it, I know it.

    If you too are tired of wearing these glasses and want to see the world hassle-free, you must have gone through various alternatives like replacing your traditional glasses with contact lenses or surgeries like PRK, LASIK, SMILE, and many more!

    Unlike the times when we only had one option to treat blurry vision that is by wearing spectacles, today we can think of moving to permanent solutions like eye surgeries. There are plenty of them available right now.

    Therefore it’s fair to compare PRK vs LASIK and even go through other surgeries available currently and choose the one which best suits you. That is why in this article I will try to provide a one stop solution for all your doubts regarding eye surgeries especially PRK vs LASIK and see which is the one you should prefer.

    PRK vs LASIK

    PRK stands for Photorefractive keratectomy and LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. Both of these are types of refractive eye surgery and both are performed using laser technology with preciseness.

    PRK vs LASIK

    It doesn’t matter if you are suffering from nearsightedness (commonly known as myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism, these surgeries can cure them if executed properly without any complications.

    Apart from many of the similarities these surgeries share, there are certain factors that make the whole PRK vs LASIK comparison more distinctive. But before we jump into the differences, let us see what these surgeries actually are.

    PRK Eye Surgery

    PRK has been in use for a long time, even before LASIK came, and is widely spread and but not known to many. You can go for PRK if you are looking forward to curing your mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

    How PRK Surgery Is Performed?

    If you have followed the pre-surgery precautions well, you will be taken to the surgery room where this PRK eye surgery will be performed and it can last up to 5-10 minutes for each eye. Anesthetic drops will be used to numb the sensations in your eye while performing surgery.

    PRK vs LASIK

    Now let us see how the surgery is actually done.

    1. The very first thing you can expect from a doctor is placing eyelid holders to prevent them from blinking and then applying anesthetic eye drops to numb your eye and make the process painless for you.
    2. Once all the pre-surgery requirements have been met, the doctor will remove the top layer of the cornea which is known as epithelium using laser, blades, brush, and alcohol solution. It will take up to 30 seconds.
    1. Now comes the important part, excimer laser which is a precise form of laser used for eye surgeries is pointed towards your cornea to fix the irregularities in your cornea and it reshapes your cornea. Expect a number of beeps while this process is being done.
    2. After this, a clean and clear contact lens will be placed on the eye to make sure your eye remains clean and does not invite any infection. It aids in the overall healing process after surgery.
    3. All these actions will be performed within 15 minutes but the healing process may take several days and you will have to keep those lenses on till then.
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    Now that we know what to expect in a PRK surgery, let’s see the procedure of LASIK as the procedure is one of the factors which makes PRK vs LASIK comparison more valid and distinctive.

    LASIK Eye Surgery

    LASIK eye surgery is an upgrade over PRK and it became widely popular with its success rate with rare cases of side effects and complications. Most hospitals offer LASIK eye treatment to cure nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

    PRK vs LASIK

    How Is Lasik Surgery Performed?

    As we are talking about PRK vs LASIK treatment, the basic motive remains the same, that is to reshape the cornea but the technique differs from the one used in PRK. In Fact, there are two techniques your doctor might use depending on your eye health.

    Here’s the basic LASIK procedure you can expect:

    1. Eye drops of anesthetic liquid are applied in both eyes to numb the eye in order to make surgery painless.
    2. After that, an eyelid holder is placed to make sure your eyes do not blink when performing surgery.
    3. A flap or opening is formed on the cornea using a laser(all-laser LASIK) or a fine blade (conventional LASIK).
    4. Using either of the two techniques, the flap on the cornea is lifted.
    5. Now the cornea is reshaped using one of the following techniques.
    6. Exciplex laser
    7. Wavefront LASIK
    8. The lifted flap is then placed back in its position where it is allowed to heal by itself.

    By now you must have noticed that even though both PRK and LASIK serve the same purpose, their way of operation is quite different. However, that is not all. There are many differences when we talk about PRK vs LASIK.

    Comparing PRK vs LASIK

    To give better clarity on this whole PRK vs LASIK debate, here is a point to point table which will help you decide which one to choose from.

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    Method Used Surface Ablation Surgery Flap Surgery
    Suitable For Patients with thin cornea tissue Patients with healthier cornea tissue
    Recovery Time 3-7 Days 4-12 Hours
    Cost Of Surgery $1,800-$3,000 $2,200-$4,000
    Risk Rate Lower Risk Comparatively higher risk
    Most Preferred Older technique Newer and most advised by doctors


    However, the above table may not be a deciding factor in PRK vs LASIK. As you can see from the above table, there are different requirements and risks associated with each of these surgeries and one should be aware of them before making a decision.

    Are You A Suitable Candidate For PRK/LASIK Surgery?

    Wearing glasses to compensate for defective vision is common and is applicable to anyone having mild blurry vision to severe blurry vision. That’s not the case with eye surgeries.

    It doesn’t matter if we are talking about PRK vs LASIK or vs SMILE, each surgery has certain requirements which the candidate should meet in order to be able to get this surgery performed. Though the criteria for both are almost the same with a slight difference.

    Criteria For Being Able To Qualify For Either Of The Surgery

    • Candidates should be at least 18 years old.
    • The lens prescription or the power of glasses should be stable for the past 1-2 years.
    • The eyes should not have any injury or infection record in the past 1 year.
    • Candidates should not be suffering from dry eye syndrome.
    • The pregnant or nursing candidates are not eligible.
    • There should not be any active condition of corneal disease.

    Even though the criteria are almost similar, the health of cornea matters more in LASIK eye surgery. Undergoing LASIK eye surgery even after not being compatible can be of great risk. Talking more about risks, more or less both of these surgeries come with certain risks.

    Risks Associated With Eye Surgeries

    Yes, there are a number of risks associated with both PRK and LASIK eye surgeries. However, one should not get scared but should be aware of these risks as rarely any patient experiences such complications.

    • Permanent Loss Of Vision: There is always a 0.01% chance of losing your vision completely due to any complications. Considering the worst case, your vision may get worse than before permanently, though that’s a very rare case.
    • Corneal Flap Issue: In LASIK surgery the flap made can cause complications after surgery. It may result in discomfort in the eye, distorted vision or excess tears.

    There are almost equal chances of risks considering PRK vs LASIK eye surgeries but these risks will exist only if the surgery is not done properly or without examining the eye properly prior to commencing the surgery.

    That’s not the case with side effects. Due to different techniques, different side effects can be seen after eye surgery. Let us see what are the chances and types of risks you should be aware of.

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    Side Effects | PRK vs LASIK

    Talking about side effects, LASIK treatment surely poses more risks because of the additional step of the flap opening. But that does not mean that PRK is free from side effects. Let us take a closer look and understand the side effects of each surgery.

    Side Effects After PRK Eye Surgery

    • Formation of halos around light sources when traveling at night.
    • Eyes feel scratchy and sore for a few days after the surgery.
    • Noticing cloudiness in vision.
    • Formation of infections leading to a loss in vision.

    Out of these side effects, some are expected after surgery like scratchy eyes and side effects like halos are treatable. However, the rest of the side effects can be serious because of the lack of remedies.

    Side Effects Of LASIK Eye Surgery

    • Itching or burning sensation in eyes.
    • Blurry vision for certain days after surgery.
    • Formation of glare or halos at night.
    • High light sensitivity
    • Red patch on eye.
    • Eye infection leading to permanent vision loss.

    Due to the opening i.e. flap in the cornea, the chances of side effects are slightly greater. Most side effects are normal and temporary whereas some are permanent but extremely rare like permanent vision loss.

    Are There Any Better Alternatives Than PRK And LASIK?

    Now that you have gone through both the eye surgeries, you may have already jumped to the conclusion about which is better in this PRK vs LASIK battle. Even if you haven’t made your mind yet I would like to mention another eye surgery you should be looking for.

    PRK vs LASIK

    With advancements in technology and medical science not only the existing eye surgeries became better but also we got some new methods of treating eye defects. SMILE is one such eye surgery that is new to the world.

    SMILE is currently used to cure nearsightedness only and it is proved to be quickest, painless, and effective. Consult with your doctor and explore all the available treatments which are present currently.

    Key Points That Will Help You Make Your Decision

    Here are a few highlights regarding PSK vs LASIK which will make it easy for you to make a choice that suits your needs most.


    • Faster
    • Has side effects but they are rare.
    • Harder to qualify for this eye surgery.
    • Most recommended by doctors.
    • More expensive.


    • Not as popular as LASIK
    • Longer recovery time.
    • Recommended for people of age over 40.
    • Better for people with an active lifestyle.
    • Costs less.

    Conclusion | PRK vs LASIK

    To conclude everything that has been discussed so far, the answer to the question “ which is the best eye surgery for you considering PRK vs LASIK” is not very simple and depends on various factors.

    LASIK is newer and has several advantages over PRK but comes with few side effects; however, the PRK has been practiced for a long time and widely available. LASIK eye surgery requires highly qualified doctors and hence costs more and also done more precisely than the PRK eye surgery.

    Consult a good doctor and stay in his observation for a month before getting your preferred eye surgery. Also, feel free to ask as many questions as you have about such surgeries. The more questions you ask the clearer the picture becomes.


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