In Advanced Surface Ablation, also known as “PRK”, the top layer of the cornea (epithelium) is gently removed and the excimer laser is then used to correct vision. While this procedure is faster and technically easier than LASIK, it takes longer to heal. Generally, patients who have LASIK are seeing 20/20 or better by the next day. With PRK, the healing time for 20/20 vision may be as long as one month. Also, for the first 2-5 days, the patient may experience discomfort and pain requiring pain medication.
Patients who elect to have PRK are usually not LASIK candidates due to their high prescription, thin corneas or job requirements. Furthermore, PRK may result in cornea haze so it is not uncommon for the surgeon to use medication at the time of the laser (such as Mitomycin C) in an effort to prevent or minimize the risk of haze. Patients who have PRK are also on post-laser steroid drops and vitamin c for up to three months to insure normal healing.