LASIK (Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) is a refractive procedure that involves making a flap from the superficial layers of the cornea and then applying a very precise laser to carve the shape of deeper layers. To make the flap a device called a microkeratome or laser is used. When the flap is created pressure is applied to the eye causing vision to go dark for a short moment, this is normal and vision will return. After the flap has been cut, it is folded back, the laser is applied and then the flap is put back in place. The procedure usually lasts about 5-10 minutes.

Advantages to LASIK include a quick recovery time and little pain. This allows people to return to work and most activities rather quickly. Disadvantages to LASIK are usually related to the flap. Significant vision loss is very rare, but usually occurs when the flap is being cut. Occasional complications like wrinkles in the flap or inflammation/debris under the flap are usually correctable or insignificant. In very rare occasions flaps have been moved because of trauma. A thinner cornea is left after LASIK and this limits some of those with a really high prescription or thin cornea from having it.


PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) is a refractive correction procedure that involves removing the front surface of the cornea (the epithelium or “skin”) and then applying the same laser used in LASIK procedures to shape the cornea. Surgeons use a brush or an alcohol application for 30 seconds to remove the epithelium. After the procedure a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye for 4 days to help with comfort and assist healing.

Advantages of PRK are that it leaves you with a thicker cornea and there is no possibility of having any flap complication. It is the recommended treatment for those with a high prescription or thin cornea because of the thicker bed that is left after. Because there is no flap it is recommended for those that are in situations where there is an increased risk of trauma (military, police, fireman, football player, etc…). Disadvantages to PRK are the mild to severe pain that lasts 2-3 days and the slower visual recovery time (4-7 days for “functional” vision and 1-2 months for best vision). Risks with PRK include developing haze with large amounts of correction, which has been reduced substantially with the use of Mitomycin C and infections, which has also been reduced, substantially with the use of stronger antibiotics.

Share by: