LASIK VS PRK Eye Corrective Surgery

LASIK Surgery

By 2011, more than 16 million Americans have had vision correction procedures and 4 million LASIK surgeries were performed last year. This technology has improved steadily over the past several years, and it has been performed for over 35 years. It is one of the most common surgeries performed around the world. This surgery eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses in over 95% of the cases.

Eye Parts



The first type of refractive surgery for vision correction was PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), and it is still being performed today. This surgery requires the cornea (epithelial layer) to be removed in order to expose the area to be treated with a laser. The initial recovery for this surgery is slower as the epithelial cells must regenerate, but the final results are excellent after a few weeks.

Since there is no corneal flap created as there is in LASIK surgery, the entire stoma is available for treatment, which is important for someone who has had previous LASIK surgery or if their cornea is too thin for LASIK surgery. There is a slightly higher risk of infection with this procedure, however, the procedure requires less depth with the laser.

The surgical instrument used for the surgery is an excimer laser. The laser light can then focus properly on the retina to correct the vision, which is located in the back of the eye. This procedure allows light to focus properly on the retina, which corrects the vision. In the video below, it is possible to see the laser light pulsating on the retina until the correction is completed.


The primary difference between PRK and LASIK is the thin, hinged cornea flap created by the laser. There is very little discomfort with LASIK surgery, and it only takes 24 hours following the procedure to enjoy the full correction of the vision in over 90% of the cases. The procedure is considered to be safe by the U.S. military and by NASA. Many pilots have had this procedure to achieve the required 20-20 vision required for flying.

LASIK Procedure

Topical anesthesia numbs the eye to begin the surgery. The surgery does not require the use of any type of blade as the laser makes the necessary corneal flap. Once the flap is made, the vision is corrected by a laser. The current laser being utilized for this technology is in its fifth generation as technology has constantly improved.

In addition to correcting vision, this surgery is also able to correct astigmatisms.

Laser Eye Surgery


Improvements in Technology

Some of the problems with the earlier surgery have been improved due to the more sophisticated technology. For instance, impaired night vision is no longer a problem. Some of the other side effects experienced with the earlier surgeries included seeing halos, glares or star bursting of lights at night. These side effects do not occur with the new LASIK surgery.

This surgery is considered to be very safe for older adults, and the average age of patients seeking the surgery is 39 years of age. Patients are carefully screened prior to the surgery to make sure they are appropriate candidates.

LASIK - Average Cost

The cost of LASIK surgery varies between various physicians, however, rates are often quoted per eye. If you are having both eyes done, which is the more common scenario, the average cost for wavefront-guided LASIK is approximately $2000 per eye. LASIK surgery with the blade created flap averages approximately $1600 per eye. Again, prices vary widely between physicians in different areas of the country. It is important to verify the physician’s reputation before proceeding with any surgery. Some healthcare insurance companies will cover part of the cost or offer a percentage discount.

My Lasik Eye Surgery

Eye Correction Benefits

The benefits of perfect vision versus the continued expense and hassle of contacts or eye glasses make the procedure well worth it for many people. There is little discomfort, no bandages, no stitches and the vision correction is immediate.

© 2013 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 32 comments

bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Pam. Wow. What a video. When they peeled the flap back I thought oh no! I have considered this for years. Maybe someday I'll take the plunge. The whole glasses thing is just a pain in the butt and I can't wear contacts. My eyes are just too dry and I've never found a pair of contacts that I could stand for very long. Thanks for the education. Voting up and sharing.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

bdeguilio, That video leaves nothing to the imagination. My son had the same problem and had the surgery actually in Canada where it was cheaper. He can see 20-20 now. It was about 4 years ago for him. Thanks for the comment.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this on LASIK vs PRK. I am glad to learn of the improvements re risks--less hesitancy as the technology develops over time. The video was interesting, but once was enough! :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

RTalloni, I wouldn't watch the video more than once either but I was curious enough to know how the surgery was done. Thanks for your comments.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Pam....Very informative. Excellent explanation and description....Video, amazing.... What I wouldn't give to be able to have this surgery and throw my glasses away...but I don't have the vision issue that can be corrected by laser surgery.

Each time I have an exam...I ask my eye Dr. if anything is new....but I figure, by the time cutting edge science turns out surgery for my eyes...I'll be too old to care. Great Hub, Pam...UP+++

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Paula, Maybe when you get cataracts as you age. They can put in lenses that correct your vision just like glasses. That was my cure. I got cataracts very young due to too many years on Prednisone but the good news was no more glasses. Thanks for your comments.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Thanks for describing the Lasik eye surgery so painlessly and completely, Pamela. Your hub may help convince readers who doubted the effectiveness of this remarkable surgical procedure.

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Pamela great hub and very interesting and informative. This is almost like the surgery i had a while back(Cataract Surgery and Lens Implants). Well done !

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Pam this is a great hub. I had the lasik surgery done about seven years ago. I have good vision without glasses. I had a restriction on my drivers license to wear glasses when driving. I went to have my vision tested at the license bureau and they removed the restriction. I just wish i'd had it sooner. I was afraid of pain but there was none. Thank's.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

drbj, It has definitely improved over the years with better quality equipment. Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

kashmir, I had the same thing as you and am well pleased. They did not use a laser on mine but the lens implant gave me 20-20 vision. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Ruby, I am glad to hear you also had such a good result. I have meant many people that also are glad they had the procedure done. Thanks for your comments.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I had a friend who had this done and she doesn't regret having it done. It is so nice to be able to see well again. Great subject and it will help many who are seeking advice on thie procedure. Voted up.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Dianne, I am glad to hear your friend did so well. Thank you so much for your comments.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Gosh Pamela, I'm glad you did a hub about this...but, I'm still chicken. I'm so afraid that I will be that small percentage where it isn't successful and something goes drastically wrong! (Doom and Gloom Gal here). Rated up/U/I for the information. :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Denise, Maybe someday you will opt to have the procedure. Statistically, things have improved with the more advanced equipment. Thank you for your comments.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 years ago from sunny Florida

I have always wondered about this and often wished I had had it done. I would love not wearing glasses. I have astigmatism so contacts did not work well for me. This would be a way to get around the glasses. Thanks for sharing this, Peggy. It has given me more insight into the process.

Sending Angels to you.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

pstraubie, I am glad you found the hub helpful. Thank you so much for your comments. Love the angels and sending some back to you.

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I hadn't known that there was more than one form of laser surgery, so this was very interesting info !!!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Chris, I'm glad you learned something new from the hub. Thanks for your comments.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very informative hub. I had written about eyes. Eyes like the window of the world. My friend have done a lasik procedure. The result is very good and the vision of him was back to normal. Very well written. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up....Have a nice weekend!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

prasetio, I am glad you friend also had a good result. It seems to be a good procedure. Thant you for your comments. I always appreciate you stopping by my friend.

midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

I have been toying with the idea of this for a long time, as I have a problem with dry eyes and wearing contacts can be a strain. However, I have chronic naistagmus and will have to consult my optometrist! Thanks for sharing, Pamela.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

midget, I have dry eyes also and use Restatsis, etc. Of course, you would want to get medical advice to make sure you are a candidate for the surgery. Thanks for your comments.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

The video took the fear out of the procedure for me pretty much. The part where everything was a blur when the flap was moved back..that made me a bit anxious. But of course that would be expected. I have wanted to have this done for so long...I have a friend who had it and swears by it. Maybe one day...

Voted up++

Sending you Angels this afternoon :) ps

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Patricia, I hope you will be able to get the procedure done in the not to distant future. I appreciate your comments. Sending angel back to you. :-)

CurrentScience303 3 years ago from HighPoint, N.C.

I have a prominent astigmatism {an oblong shape to the eyeball}, which has made my vision's near-sightedness considerably worse over the years. By the time I reached my 30's, the progression of poor-eyesight began to tapper a bit, from year-to-year. Ten+ years back (the last time I spoke with an optometrist), I was informed that the two main forms of corrective eye surgery were still "too risky" for my eyes {due my vision not staying relatively the same (in proscription strength) from one year to the next}. I haven't had an eye-exam in over 5 years, & I'm still able to see decent enough & can easily pass a DMV eye-test. I wear eye-glasses {I quit messing with contact-lenses a few years back}. I'm almost willing to back the statement/question: "why get a surgery (more close to "cosmetic" than any true necessity)"?? - Any feedback, from your point-of-view is encouraged! - Thanks for the article, as the scientific-analytical mind, strives to uncover multitudes of varying view points!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

CurrentScience303, Many people has astigmatism, including me, although mine is mild. I know the types of surgery have definitely advanced, but if it were me, I would not get a surgery if I could see well enough without one. If you can pass the DMV test without glasses or contacts, then, your distance vision is adequate.

I don't know about your vision for reading. One thing I was told about my vision is to use moisturizing eye drops, which help with my astigmatism because I have dry eyes. I don't know if that will help you. Since you have not had an eye examination in several years it might be a good idea to just see how much your vision has changed. I appreciate your comments and hope my suggestions help.

CurrentScience303 3 years ago from HighPoint, N.C.

Correction: I can pass a DMV vision-test WITH CORRECTIVE-LENS EYE GLASSES! Without corrective lenses, I can see fuzzy colors, & that's about it {negative 400 to 500 over 20!}. One of the key points I was attempting to convey is: Even with Newly prescribed prescription lenses {contacts or glasses}, my vision is still a bit off (for near-sightedness).

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

CurrentScience303, I apparently misunderstood. In that case, I would probably consider Lasik surgery. My only personal experience with Lasik surgery is with my son and daughter-in-law. They each had the surgery done in Canada as they were living in upstate NY at that time. It was cheaper in Canada, and they each had great result. It has been several years also.

I don't know if that is affordable for you or if you even want the surgery; however, I would certainly check out the doctor's reputation carefully before making that choice. In most states you can go online and see whether a doctor has been sued or had any type of sanctions. Also, word of mouth can be helpful. There is one particular doctor where I live that is often referred to as the best doctor for this procedure. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck.

DIYmommy profile image

DIYmommy 3 years ago

When my husband returned from service in 2003, he actually had both PRK and Lasik done on different eyes. His initial intent was to have LASIK done on both eyes, however, during the procedure, I guess they found that his corneal flap on his left eye was too thin to do LASIK. Instead, they had to do PRK. Thanks for the great hub and I look forward to reading more.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

DIYmommy, I hope he got a good result on both eyes. This just shows how we are all different and sometimes procedures can't be done. Thanks for sharing you situation and for your comments.

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