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What Is the Difference Between PRK and LASIK Surgery?

When people think of laser eye surgery, they often think of LASIK. However, there’s another type of procedure called Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK. And while the latter is not as popular, it was actually the predecessor of LASIK. But what makes them so different, and more importantly, why should you choose one over the other? Let’s find out by taking a deep dive into the differences between PRK and LASIK surgery.

What Is PRK?

Photorefractive Keratectomy is a type of refractive surgery. Its purpose is to treat vision problems that are caused by refractive errors through the use of a laser. When successful, the surgery reduces the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, in some cases, it can also allow patients to do without them completely.

So, how does it work? Simply put, the doctor uses a laser to modify the shape of your cornea. That improves the way light focuses on the retina. As a result, PRK can treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

What Is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK is the most popular and most performed laser refractive surgery that aims to correct vision problems. What makes this procedure so appealing is that it can eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses permanently. But, in order to understand how LASIK does that, you need to know more about the cornea.

In eyes with normal vision, the cornea refracts light onto the retina at the back of the eye. However, for those with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, the light doesn’t bend correctly, which results in blurred vision. LASIK fixes that issue through the use of a laser to alter the shape of your cornea.



Although PRK and LASIK have a similar purpose, their procedures are a bit different. For example, during PRK, the surgeon removes the top layer of your cornea and then uses a laser to reshape it. In contrast, during LASIK, the doctor will cut a thin flap in your cornea, reshape it, and then fold the flap back into its place.


It’s important to remember that the cost of both surgeries varies depending on your provider and insurance. But usually, LASIK costs around $2,200 per eye, while PRK is a few hundred dollars cheaper because it is easier and faster to perform.

Side Effects

Both PRK and LASIK can have a few side effects that can persist for days after the surgery. PRK patients may notice that their eyes feel sore or scratchy, while LASIK can cause irritation or a burning sensation. More serious side effects, such as infections, are pretty rare, but they can be caused by both procedures.

Final Thoughts

All in all, you need to keep in mind that both PRK and LASIK are effective at treating a variety of vision problems. However, LASIK presents fewer side effects and has a shorter recovery period. That’s why most doctors, such as Dr. Schnipper, recommend this reliable and precise procedure. But no matter which one you choose; you can relax knowing that your vision issues will soon be a thing of the past.

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Posted in: Eye Care Services, LASIK