LASIK vs. PRK vs. ICL?

an eye
August 28, 2019
James Ashford

Modern advancements in surgery have allowed some of the most common vision problems to be treated with laser (and other) eye surgery, often removing a patient’s need for prescription glasses or contact lenses.

Let’s take a look at the most common surgeries, and get to understand what they are and how they can help.

PRK

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), a type of refractive surgery, was actually the very first type of laser eye surgery. It is used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

It is the predecessor to the ever-popular LASIK procedure!

While it is not as popular these days as LASIK, PRK offers some distinct advantages:

  • Suitable for patients with a thin cornea
  • No risk of corneal flap complications

Similar to LASIK, most PRK patients can expect to achieve 20/20 vision after the procedure, and nearly all patients achieve 20/40 or better!

LASIK

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is one of the most popular forms of elective surgery in America for those between the ages of 18 and 45.

For most patients with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism, LASIK provides a permanent alternative to glasses or contacts. For many patients, they enjoy results like 20/20 vision or better.

LASIK VS. PRK: WHICH ONE’S BETTER?

What’s the difference between LASIK and PRK? 

In LASIK, a laser is used to create a thin flap on the cornea. The surgeon uses this flap to reshape the cornea with a laser.

In PRK, however, the epithelium (thin outer layer of the cornea) is removed and discarded prior to reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with a laser. Within a few days of surgery, the epithelium repairs itself and grows back.

There is also a variation of PRK called LASEK, in which the epithelial layer is lifted, preserved, and then replaced at the end of the procedure. LASEK, however, is less popular as it takes longer for the epithelial layer to recover than to grow back in PRK. 

It’s challenging to say which one is better, per se. In some cases, one procedure may offer unique benefits to one person vs. another person, based on their unique needs.

However, in general terms, LASIK is often the preferred surgery. LASIK patients experience less discomfort and their vision stabilizes more quickly following surgery. 

ICL

The ICL is an implantable contact lens that works with the natural lens of your eye to improve your vision. 

Patients who are not good candidates for LASIK are often considered for ICL. Ideal ICL candidates are:

  • Between the ages of 21 and 45
  • Have mild to severe myopia
  • Have a steady eye prescription

During the ICL procedure, the lens is inserted between the iris and natural lens via a tiny incision. Recovery from an ICL procedure is relatively quick.

KAMRA® Inlay

The KAMRA inlay helps restore near vision for those with presbyopia or blurry near vision. It also offers long-term performance and can help most patients ditch reading glasses. The Kamra inlay is ideal for patients who don’t want to rely on reading glasses or contact lenses for their everyday life.

The inlay is placed on the cornea in only one eye (so you can see up close, while maintaining distance vision in both eyes). It is smaller and thinner than a contact lens! It’s a mini-ring with a pinhole opening in the center, which allows light to enter the eye.

Wondering which procedure is for you? Schedule an appointment with your optometrist or vision provider to find out.

Sources:

  1. www.kamra.com
  2. https://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/prk.htm
  3. https://www.goodeyes.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-lasik-and-icl/

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Find out more about our self-funded plans and other flexible options.

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