Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) uses the excimer laser in the same way as LASIK, and your vision correction results are similar. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that in PRK there is no flap — only the very top (epithelial) layer of the cornea is removed (or moved aside) before the excimer laser sculpts the cornea.
If PRK is the chosen procedure, an alcohol-based solution will first be placed in a very specific area of the cornea to help loosen the epithelial layers; a thin layer of the cornea will then be gently removed. A bandage contact lens will be placed in the treated eye to promote healing, for about 3-4 days, and the cornea’s epithelial layer regrows during this time.
While LASIK patients often report clear, improved vision by the day after surgery, it may be a few days before vision stabilizes for PRK patients. The thicker corneal flap created in LASIK is not made in PRK, so if there is a concern about potential flap complications, if you’re in a profession where your eyes can get injured easily (firefighters, police officer, military, combat sports etc.), or if other health factors are involved, PRK may be a better option.