PRK vs LASIK Eye Surgery

Laser refractive surgery can be divided into two main categories: LASIK (laser insitu keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). Both use the laser in the same manner, but the initial aspects of the procedure are different between LASIK and PRK.


procedures-prkPRK involves simply removing and polishing the surface layer of the eye (cornea). This reshapes the eye and corrects most refractive errors.


  • It is a simple technique with very little surgical risk.
  • No longterm flap risk – a consideration for certain situations (such as martial arts, construction, law enforcement, and dry eye syndrome).
  • Surgery is on the top, superficial layer of the cornea, making it generally safer.

Things to Consider

  • PRK has a slower recovery than LASIK – most people take one week off work; full vision recovery can take several weeks/months for some.
  • Potentially more discomfort in first few days.
  • Faint scarring may occur with strong treatments or re-treatments.
  • Small risk of recurrent corneal erosion syndrome (i.e. awakening with irritation in the eye – may happen months after surgery).


proceudres-lasikLasik is a more complex 3-step procedure:

  1. A flap is created and peeled to the side (like an orange peel)
  2. The laser removes tissue from the exposed area
  3. The flap is rolled back into position.


  • Fast, virtually painless recovery. Most people are able to return to work the next day.
  • Less chance of either scarring or corneal erosion (surface breakdown) compared to PRK.

Things to Consider

  • Potential for flap complications.
  • Tissue is removed at a deeper level of the cornea, and there is a potentially greater risk to structurally weaken the eye compared to PRK.
  • May be inappropriate to have permanent flap with certain jobs or hobbies: construction, military, martial arts.