How does PRK laser eye surgery differ from LASIK?

PRK and LASIK vision correction methods are the most popular modern procedures for the correction of astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. While their outcomes are ultimately similar, their procedures differ. Ophthalmologists usually determine the best procedure for a patient depending on the unique laser vision correction needs of the individual. But how does PRK laser eye surgery differ from LASIK?

PRK Laser Procedure

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) Laser Procedure was the first eye surgery vision correction method – direct predecessor of the LASIK procedure. This procedure involves the removal of the thin outer layer before reshaping the corneal tissue using an excimer laser. Within a few days after the eye surgery, the epithelium repairs itself, growing back over the surface of the cornea.

LASIK Procedure

Lasik is a procedure which involves the creation of a thin flap on the cornea with the aid of a femtosecond or microkeratome laser. The thin flap is lifted in order to expose the corneal tissue, after which it is replaced following the reshaping of the cornea using an excimer laser.


A major difference between PRK Laser surgery and LASIK is in the first part of the procedure. While LASIK involves the use of a thin flap at the corneal surface, PRK does not. Hence, so long as an individual is a candidate for LASIK, he/she would also be a candidate for PRK. However, a PRK patient may not necessarily be a LASIK patient. PRK is recommended for patients with thin or steep corneas, large pupils, irregular astigmatism, and history of eye syndrome or eye surgery.

The end results of both procedures are very similar – the difference is in the healing process. The initial recovery of PRK procedure is slow because it takes a few days for regeneration of new epithelial cells to take place so the surface of the eye will be covered. The risk of eye infection and vision haziness is also increased in PRK surgery in the few days after the eye surgery and the final outcome is gradual and could be achieved after several weeks. On the other hand, LASIK patients usually experience less discomfort with quicker stability of vision.

Although the healing process of PRK is a lot slower than LASIK, the procedure has some unique benefits. Since PRK surgery does not involve the creation of a thin corneal flap, applying treatment to the thick area of the underlying stroma is possible. This is especially beneficial to patients with thin cornea (who are not qualified for LASIK) and those who have previously undergone a LASIK eye surgery. PRK is also beneficial because the patient is not exposed to the risks of removing too much cornea or potential flap complications.

If you are looking to reduce or even get rid of your eye glasses and/or contacts let us at Rohr Eye & Laser Center help you! We offer several types of LASIK eye surgery including PRK, AK, CK, Cataracts surgery and more. We perform all these eye laser treatments with state of the art equipment. We are a leader in laser vision correction, and our goal is to help you achieve superior vision. Contact us today or view our website  to schedule an appointment.

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