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LASIK vs PRK Laser Eye Surgery By Daniel J Tepper on February 16, 2021

Side-by-side 3D model of LASIK and PRK laser surgeryLaser eye surgery can work wonders for correcting blurred vision. You may be interested in pursuing laser vision correction, but are unsure of which type is best for you. Wicker Park Eye Center has helped countless people in the greater Chicago, IL area by performing safe and effective LASIK and PRK surgery.

Both PRK and LASIK surgery are effective means for correcting vision. So what are the differences, and which one is right for you? Read on below to find out more about these two refractive surgery options.

What vision issues do LASIK and PRK treat?

Both LASIK and PRK reshape the cornea, the clear outer surface of the eye. People with blurry vision will often have a misshapen cornea that bends light incorrectly. With laser eye surgery, the following conditions can be fixed:

  • Nearsightedness (Myopia): Difficulty seeing far away objects clearly, caused by a sharp curve in the cornea or a longer than normal eyeball
  • Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Difficulty seeing close objects clearly, caused by a shorter than average eyeball or a flattened cornea
  • Astigmatism: An irregular eye shape that causes blurry vision, caused by an irregular cornea

LASIK Surgery Procedure

LASIK generally takes only about 30 minutes. Refractive surgeons apply numbing eye drops, and may offer a mild sedative to help you relax. An instrument holds your eyes open and a suction ring is placed on your eye before making the incision. Your eye surgeon will make a tiny incision in the epithelium, the topmost layer of the cornea. This corneal flap is lifted up, exposing the cornea for reshaping.

A precisely programmed laser methodically removes small portions of the cornea, reshaping it to provide accurate refraction. Once the laser has done its job, the refractive surgeon lays the corneal flap back into place. The flap does not need stitches and can heal on its own in a few days.

PRK Surgery Procedure

PRK surgery is similar to LASIK. First, numbing eye drops will be administered, along with a sedative if requested. An eye speculum holds your eyelids open, and a suction ring is placed on the eye to keep it from moving. The main difference between LASIK and PRK surgeries is how the cornea is accessed.

In a PRK procedure, the refractive surgeon reveals the cornea for laser correction by scraping away the epithelium. The laser then does the work of reshaping your cornea. At the end of the procedure, the refractive surgeon will usually apply a clear contact lens to protect your eyes and reduce irritation while the epithelium heals.

Recovery of LASIK vs PRK

Additional differences between LASIK and PRK are apparent in the recovery period.

LASIK surgery generally has a much shorter recovery period. You will generally be able to see better immediately following the surgery. LASIK patients may only have to deal with a slight burning sensation in your eyes for a few hours, with mild side effects for the next few days as you heal.

PRK surgery, on the other hand, has a longer recovery time. It can take a few weeks for your top layer of cornea cells to regrow. Irritation and discomfort may be more pronounced for PRK patients than LASIK patients.

Which is right for me?

Both LASIK and PRK are effective, but one may be better suited to your needs. Wicker Park Eye Center wants the best for patients in the Chicago area, so we will always recommend the procedure that’s right for you.

Those with thin corneas may not qualify for LASIK, for example, but would be ideal for PRK surgery. We can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both procedures in more detail during your consultation at our practice.

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you are interested in pursuing laser eye surgery, start with a consultation to get you on your journey to better vision. Give us a call at (773) 376-2020 or schedule an appointment online at our Chicago eye care practice.

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Wicker Park Eye Center

At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, Dr. Daniel J. Tepper, a board-certified ophthalmologist and Parisha Shah, fellowship-trained optometrists, provide patient-centric eye care. Our affiliations include:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Optometric Association (AOA)

To schedule an appointment at our eye clinic, please contact us online or call (773) 376-2020.

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"I have visited Wicker Eye Park Center a few times, with each visit I have received excellent service. Dr. Tepper is the best ophthalmologist that I have seen in many years. He, like his staff, is also courteous respectful and very professional." Juan B.

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