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PRK Surgery vs LASIK Surgery : Choosing the Right Vision Correction Procedure

If you’re considering vision correction surgery, you’ve likely come across two popular procedures: PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis). Both PRK and LASIK are effective ways to correct refractive errors and reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses. However, understanding the differences and considering individual factors is crucial when deciding which procedure is right for you.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Surgery:

Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK, is a time-tested laser eye surgery that has been in use for several decades. It involves reshaping the cornea to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK, PRK does not require creating a corneal flap. Instead, the surgeon removes the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) before applying the laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue.(1)

Benefits of PRK Surgery:

Safety: Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK is considered a safe and effective procedure, with a long history of successful outcomes.

Thinner Corneas: Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK is a suitable option for individuals with thinner corneas who may not qualify for LASIK due to insufficient corneal thickness.

Corneal Stability: Since PRK does not involve creating a corneal flap, it preserves the structural integrity of the cornea, making it a preferred choice for individuals engaged in contact sports or professions with a higher risk of eye trauma.

Considerations for PRK Surgery:

Longer Recovery Time: Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK typically involves a slightly longer recovery period compared to LASIK. The regrowth of the epithelium may take a few days to a week, and it can take several weeks for vision to stabilize completely.

Discomfort During Recovery: As the outer layer of the cornea heals, patients may experience temporary discomfort, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. Medications and post-operative care can help manage these symptoms.

LASIK Surgery:

LASIK is another popular refractive surgery that utilizes a laser to correct vision problems. It involves creating a thin, hinged flap on the cornea, lifting it, and reshaping the underlying tissue with a laser. The flap is then repositioned, allowing for rapid healing and minimal discomfort.(2)

Benefits of LASIK Surgery:

Quick Recovery: LASIK generally offers a faster visual recovery compared to PRK. Many patients experience improved vision within a day or two after the procedure.

Minimal Discomfort: The creation of a corneal flap during LASIK leads to less discomfort during the healing process, with most patients reporting minimal pain or irritation.

Immediate Results: LASIK often provides immediate vision improvement, allowing patients to return to their daily activities with clearer vision soon after the surgery.

Considerations for LASIK Surgery:

Corneal Thickness Requirement: LASIK requires a certain corneal thickness for safe and successful surgery. Individuals with thin corneas may not be suitable candidates for LASIK and may need to consider PRK instead.

Higher Risk of Complications: While LASIK has a high success rate, creating a corneal flap involves a small risk of flap-related complications, such as dislodgement or wrinkling. These complications are rare but should be discussed with your surgeon.


Choosing between Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK and LASIK surgery depends on various factors, including corneal thickness, lifestyle, and personal preferences. PRK is a reliable option for individuals with thinner corneas or those involved in activities that pose a higher risk of eye trauma. LASIK offers faster recovery and immediate results, making it a popular choice for many patients.

To make an informed decision, it is crucial to consult with an experienced ophthalmologist or refractive surgeon who can assess your individual needs and recommend the most suitable procedure. With the advancements in laser vision correction, both PRK and LASIK offer exceptional outcomes, providing you with clearer vision and potentially reducing your dependence on glasses or contact lenses.


  1. Somani SN, Moshirfar M, Patel BC. Photorefractive Keratectomy. [Updated 2023 Apr 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549887/
  2. Moshirfar M, Bennett P, Ronquillo Y. Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) [Updated 2022 Jul 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555970/

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 26, 2023

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