Maple Eye and Laser Center
Understanding PRK Procedure and Recovery Time vs. LASIK

Understanding PRK Procedure and Recovery Time vs. LASIK

When it comes to vision correction, you have several options. Among the most common are Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) and Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK). These procedures are similar in many aspects, but they also have significant differences.

Both PRK and LASIK surgeries are designed to correct refractive errors in your eyes, improving your vision and reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses. These surgeries work by reshaping the cornea, the clear front part of your eye, to allow light entering the eye to be correctly focused onto the retina.


Understanding PRK Surgery

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a type of refractive surgery which corrects myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea using a laser. Unlike other forms of laser eye surgery, PRK works by removing the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, before reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser.

The recovery process after PRK surgery involves the regeneration of the epithelium, which can take a few days to over a week. During this recovery period, you may experience some discomfort or mild pain. PRK surgery and recovery are generally considered safe, with complications being rare.

What is LASIK Surgery?

Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), like PRK, uses a laser to reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors. However, LASIK surgery involves creating a thin flap in the cornea, lifting it, and then reshaping the underlying corneal tissue. After the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is replaced, serving as a natural bandage.

LASIK surgery and recovery time are usually quicker than PRK. Most patients experience minimal discomfort and can return to their normal activities the next day. However, LASIK may not be suitable for individuals with thin corneas, dry eyes, or other specific corneal abnormalities.


When comparing PRK vs LASIK, the most noticeable difference lies in the first step of the procedures. PRK removes the entire epithelial layer, while LASIK creates a corneal flap. This fundamental difference leads to variations in the recovery process and the potential risks associated with each surgery.

In terms of results, both surgeries offer similar outcomes. Most patients achieve 20/20 or near 20/20 vision after PRK or LASIK. However, PRK recovery is generally slower, and initial vision clarity might take longer to achieve compared to LASIK.

Factors Influencing the Choice between PRK and LASIK

The choice between PRK and LASIK will depend on several factors. These include the thickness of your cornea, your lifestyle, your profession, and even the preference and recommendation of your eye doctor.

If you have a thin cornea, PRK may be the better option as it does not require the creation of a corneal flap. On the other hand, if you lead a very active lifestyle or engage in contact sports, LASIK may be more suitable since there's no risk of dislodging the epithelial layer during the healing process.


The decision between PRK and LASIK is a personal one, and it should be made after a detailed discussion with your eye doctor. Both procedures have their advantages and disadvantages, and what works best for one person may not be the best for another.

For more information on PRK and LASIK surgery or to determine which is right for you, contact our professionals at Maple Eye and Laser Center at our office in White Plains or Manhattan, New York. Call 914-948-5157 to schedule an appointment today.