LASIK vs. PRK: Which Option Suits Your Vision Needs?

You dream of life without glasses and are finally ready to make it happen. Two of the most popular options for vision correction surgery are LASIK and PRK. What’s the difference between these two procedures? Which option is best for you?

We’ll explain some of the primary differences between LASIKand PRK below. If you have any questions or need personalized advice, call our offices at 877-542-3937. As a top provider of refractive surgery in the Pacific Northwest, we can help you find the right solution for your eyes.


Both LASIK and PRK share a similar goal. These procedures were designed to correct vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The primary difference between these two procedures is the method they use to correct your vision.

LASIK and PRK improve vision by reshaping the cornea. For perfect vision, the eye should be round, similar in shape to a baseball. Unfortunately, many of us have eyes that are shaped more like a football, elongated, not round. The eye can be reshaped by removing part of the cornea. This improves vision by reducing the distortion that occurs as images enter the eye.

LASIK cuts a flap of tissue in the cornea, using either a high-powered laser or a sharp blade. This flap is lifted so the cornea can be reshaped. PRK does not create a flap. Instead, the outer layer of the eye is removed, allowing the laser to reshape the cornea.

LASIK and PRK may achieve the same goal, but the differences in treatment often mean that one option will be a better fit for your lifestyle, vision, and preferences. At Will Vision and Laser Centers, we realize that both PRK and LASIK are valuable options for vision correction and we offer both treatments to our patients in our Salem, OR and Vancouver, WA offices. Let’s improve your vision! Call our offices to schedule your refractive surgery consultation and get started on a journey to better eyesight.

LASIK Basics

LASIK is one of the most popular and well-known options for vision correction surgery. LASIK stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileuses. LASIK has a high level of patient satisfaction, and research shows that 96% of LASIK patients are satisfied with their results. When performed by an experienced refractive surgeon like Dr. Will, LASIK is safe and effective for improving vision.

The first step in a LASIK treatment is creating the corneal flap. We use a femtosecond laser to create this flap. The tissue is peeled back, and a specialized laser is used to reshape the underlying cornea. The tissue flap is placed back into position and the patient returns home to recover. We offer Bladeless LASIK, which means that only laser energy is used during the procedure.

Most patients find that LASIK is painless. We use a local anesthetic; eye drops typically. The treatment takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

Recovery from LASIK is quick for most patients. Many return to work in a few days. We’ll provide specific recovery instructions at the time of your procedure.

PRK Basics

PRK, short for photorefractive keratectomy, is another type of refractive surgery. PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery to correct vision. It was created and used before LASIK. It may be older than LASIK, but it remains a solid option for laser vision correction. Newer doesn’t always mean better.

During PRK a thin layer is removed from the surface of the eye. This exposes the corneal tissues that we’ll reshape during your treatment. A laser refines the shape of the cornea using ultraviolet light. Start to finish, PRK takes less than 15 minutes, and patients return home to recover shortly after.

Recovery is longer after PRK than LASIK. You’ll need to wear a special contact lens that acts as a bandage for about 5-7 days. It can take 1-3 weeks to return to driving and up to 6 months to see full results. Patients also report more discomfort after PRK.

PRK is typically a better option than LASIK for patients with thin corneas or large pupils. It may also be a better choice for patients that are more likely to get an eye injury in the future. With PRK there is no flap and no potential for flap complications. If you’ve been told that you’re not a good candidate for LASIK, PRK may work for you.

Which Option Is Best for Me?

There are pros and cons to both LASIK and PRK. However, most patients are delighted with their results regardless of the procedure they choose. We’ll help you weigh the benefits of each treatment and select the best option for your eyes and lifestyle.

Call Will Vision and Laser Centers today to schedule your refractive surgery consultation.