LASIK vs PRK, and SMILE
For those looking for the best laser vision correction strategy in Cleveland, LASIK, SMILE, and PRK are your options. All three are considered effective ways to correct your vision and become less dependent on glasses and contact lenses. But, you may be asking yourself, which one is for me? Let’s take a look at the differences between LASIK, PRK, and SMILE.
PRK is a laser eye surgery where the laser ablates tissue on the top layer of the cornea. During a PRK procedure, the outer layer (epithelium) of the cornea (the clear window in the front of the eye) is removed and your cornea is then reshaped using a cool excimer laser. The difference between PRK and LASIK is that no flap is created during a PRK procedure.
PRK can treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. The treatment takes about 5 minutes per eye, and it’s a quick outpatient procedure. Most patients have reported that the procedure is painless.
PRK can be very beneficial for those with thin corneas and/or a higher prescription. It can also be the most suitable procedure for those who participate in contact sports or who have professions that run a risk of eye injury (MMA fighters, boxers). PRK is often used as a strategy to enhance a previous LASIK patient’s distance vision.
If there is a downside to PRK, it is the healing time. Patients often are blurry for up to three weeks. Doctors often advise that patients proceed with PRK one eye at a time. A clear contact lens is often worn for a short period of time (5-6 days) after the procedure as an aid in healing.
Vision outcomes from PRK are essentially identical to LASIK. Once your eyes have healed, you will likely experience greater independence from glasses and contacts.
LASIK is the most commonly performed laser vision surgery in practice today. During a LASIK procedure, your surgeon will create a small flap of corneal tissue which is then folded back so that an excimer laser can reshape your cornea, and change your vision.
LASIK can be used to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. LASIK has a quick healing time. The majority of patients are able to return to work and driving the day after their LASIK procedure. There is a subtle improvement in vision throughout the six months after the procedure.
SMILE is the newest and most recently FDA-approved laser vision correction procedure. The main procedural difference between a SMILE procedure and other procedures is that an excimer laser is not used. A femtosecond laser cuts a tiny incision in a patient’s cornea where the lenticule (a small piece of corneal tissue) is then removed through that incision. This helps to reshape the cornea and improve vision thus incorporating the benefits of both LASIK and PRK.
The procedure is described as quick and painless by most patients. The procedure only takes about 9 minutes per eye.
The healing from SMILE is quicker than PRK, but it takes a little longer than LASIK. It can be a great alternative for a patient who has needed the benefits of PRK but wants to have a quicker healing time. Typically, patients are seeing great at about a week.
SMILE can be used to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Ultimately, determining which procedure is right for you is going to be a joint decision between the patient and their doctor. A comprehensive eye exam and pre-operative consultation in order to determine which procedure is right for your unique set of priorities and eye characteristics.
ClearChoice LASIK offers LASIK, PRK, SMILE, as well as other lens-based refractive procedures. A consultation with a ClearChoice LASIK doctor can be helpful in determining which procedure is the best fit for you. The ClearChoice LASIK surgeons are amongst the nation’s most experienced laser vision correction surgeons and are ready to help you in your path to better vision.