Why is Recovery Longer for PRK than LASIK?

Dr. Robert Dinga

LASIK eye surgery and PRK eye surgery, both vision correction procedures using the excimer laser, share many similarities. They offer lasting results in an outpatient setting. However, a key difference lies in the recovery time – PRK taking slightly longer than LASIK. This difference, typically a matter of days, is caused by the way each procedure accesses the cornea for reshaping. Let’s delve deeper into why PRK vs. LASIK recovery takes a bit more time.

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Understanding Recovery Differences in PRK and LASIK

Both procedures aim to correct vision by reshaping the cornea with the excimer laser. To achieve this, your surgeon needs clear access. Here’s where the key difference lies, impacting PRK recovery:

The epithelial layer takes slightly longer to regenerate compared to the healing of the LASIK flap. While individual healing times vary, most patients experience significant improvement by day 3-4 after PRK. A bandage contact lens is placed to promote healing and protect the eye. Additionally, your surgeon might prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to aid recovery.

The Takeaway: LASIK vs. PRK Recovery

While PRK recovery takes a few extra days, the overall difference between the procedures is minimal for most patients. To determine the best option for your vision correction needs, consult a qualified LASIK surgeon and discuss both procedures in detail.


PRK: Feeling Better and Healing Faster. (2016, March 28). American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/prk-feeling-better-healing-faster

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