I'm interested in getting LASEK or PRK. Questions: 1) I initially thought recovery time and discomfort was shorter for LASEK than PRK. I've seen some conflicting information recently on a few different sites. Some clarification would be appreciated. 2) Why don't more eye surgeons offer LASEK? (having a hard time finding one in my area) Is it a matter of time since it's relatively new compared to the other procedures? or will improvements in PRK negate the need for LASEK?

Doctor Answers 3

What's the difference between LASEK Vs. PRK?

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LASEK involves using alcohol to remove the epithelial layer of the cornea, then putting it back at the end of the procedure.  Since the alcohol kills the cells, this layer becomes dead tissue and can actually be more irritating to the eye than simply removing the epithelium and letting it heal back in place over the next few days, as in PRK.  The major problem for both methods is the alcohol, which inhibits healing of the underlying cornea.  The fastest healing time other than LASIK is PRK with an Amoils Brush.  This method removes the epithelium without alcohol and makes a perfectly round epithelial defect that heals fairly quickly.

San Diego Ophthalmologist


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My advice would be to make sure the surgeon you consult with is a fellowship trained refractive specialist who is capable of doing LASEK or PRK. If the surgeon is comfortable with both procedures, they can recommend which they think is best for your and why. No one procedure is best for everyone, they all have pros and cons. Problems arise when you try to conform everyone to one type of procedure. The physical attributes of your eyes and your personal goals and preferences will determine which is best suited for you.

Ilan Cohen, MD
New York Ophthalmologist


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PRK is an archaic procedure. I performed my last PRK in 1999. LASEK is the more advanced method of performing a surface ablation that's largely replaced 

Emil William Chynn, MD, FACS, MBA
New York Ophthalmologist

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