Quicker recovery Time: 1-4 days
Quicker improvement in vision: generally, patients experience clear vision as soon as the day after the procedure.
There may still be mild changes over the first week or two.
The LASIK flap never reaches the full strength of the original cornea. Lasik flap dislocations can occur years after the original procedure.
The overall strength of the cornea is more affected by LASIK than PRK, and this may pose a higher risk of a rare complication: ectasia. Ectasia is an irregular curvature of the cornea that causes blurred vision that may not be correctable (even with glasses or contact lenses).
Inflammation can occur under the flap, causing a temporary or permanent loss of the best corrected vision. Usually this can be cleared up with medications and time.
Longer recovery time: 4-7 days
Longer visual recovery: in the first few weeks after PRK, vision can be blurry. Optimum vision can be as long as three months, although most improvements occur in the first three weeks.
Because there is no flap, there is no future risk of a flap dislocation.
PRK has a decreased risk of ectasia. This may be especially important for patients who are more near- or far-sighted before surgery, who have thinner corneas or are younger (<30). Even though the risk of ectasia is lower in PRK patients than for LASIK patients, the risk is not zero.
Inflammation can cause corneal haze, causing a temporary or permanent loss of the best-corrected vision. Usually, this can be cleared up with medications and time.
There is a small risk of infection with both the LASIK and the PRK procedure.
Some people experience side effects after either LASIK or PRK that usually disappear over time. These side effects may include hazy or blurry vision; difficulty with night vision and/or driving at night; scratchiness, dryness and other symptoms of the condition called "dry eye"; glare, halos or starbursts around lights; light sensitivity; discomfort or pain; or small pink or red patches on the white of the eye. In a small minority of patients, some of these effects may be permanent.
Sometimes a second surgery, called a retreatment or enhancement, may be needed to achieve the desired vision correction. This occurs approximately 5% of the time, and is more likely for people who were more nearsighted, farsighted, or had higher astigmatism before LASIK or PRK — those whose vision originally needed more intensive correction. At SVEA, enhancement procedures are included at no additional charge (for those patients who are good candidates for a safe enhancement procedure) within 24 months of the original procedure date.