LASIK surgery differs from PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, in that an attached flap of tissue created on the surface of the cornea during the LASIK procedure provides access to the stromal layer of the cornea. In PRK, the entire outer layer of the cornea is removed before the stromal layer is resculpted, according to All About Vision.
The recovery time after the PRK procedure is several days because cells must regenerate to form a new epithelial layer on the cornea, whereas the recovery from LASIK is faster. Additionally, in the first few days following PRK surgery, patients have an increased risk of blurred vision and eye infection, explains All About Vision. However, with LASIK, there is a risk of having flap complications.
The overall result of a PRK procedure is not evident for many weeks, as patients experience incremental vision improvement over time, notes All About Vision. In contrast, patients who have LASIK enjoy normal vision sooner and generally experience less pain during recovery.
In comparison to LASIK, the PRK procedure allows for the treatment of a thicker area of the cornea. Additionally, the laser used for the PRK procedure is less likely to remove an excessive amount of cornea. Patients with conditions such as myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia and those who have a very thin cornea are not suitable candidates for LASIK and may instead benefit from PRK, reports All About Vision.