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The end result of PRK is comparable to results achieved with LASIK, but initial recovery from PRK is slower. It takes several days for the thin outer layer of the cornea (the epithelium) to regenerate and cover the surface of the eye. Once the epithelium heals, it takes several days, or even months, for the surface to become smooth and regular.

There is also some risk of infection and hazy vision, slightly higher in the days immediately after PRK. Patients who undergo the LASIK procedure usually report less discomfort, and their vision stabilizes more quickly, sometimes even instantly. Recovery post-PRK is gradual; vision fluctuates, and it may take several weeks for it to stabilize.

Nevertheless, PRK offers certain advantages. Because this method does not require an incision in the cornea (containing the epithelium and deeper corneal tissue called the “stroma”) to create a flap, the surgeon has a greater corneal thickness to sculpt with the laser.

PRK may prove to be the only option for patients with thin corneas, or those who have already undergone LASIK correction. Whenever there is a doubt, the surgeon will opt for PRK, due to the greater safety margin it gives him in terms of residual corneal thickness.

Risks of complications directly linked to the flap also disappear when the flap is not created.

Although the LASIK procedure is the one most commonly used for correcting the vision with laser surgery, PRK is more appropriate for some patients.