PRK and LASEK
PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) was the first procedure performed using the Excimer laser. It corrects vision by reshaping the surface of the cornea. First, the epithelium, a thin layer of clear, protective skin that covers the cornea, is removed. After the laser reshapes the surface, new epithelium grows back over the treated area, usually in three to seven days. Functional vision typically returns within the first week. Many surgeons feel that PRK provides outstanding results without corneal flap complications.
LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis) is a relatively new laser vision procedure that combines certain elements of both the PRK and LASIK procedures. Instead of removing the epithelium as with PRK, a flap of surface epithelium is loosened with a diluted alcohol solution and moved aside. The surface under the epithelium is treated with the laser and the epithelial flap is returned to its original position, as with LASIK. A protective, soft contact lens is then placed over the cornea to make the eye more comfortable while it heals. Recovery is usually 3-7 days.Functional vision typically returns in the first week.