Surface laser is the variety of procedures that work directly on the outer surface of the cornea. PRK is the acronym for Photo Refractive Keratectomy, the precursor to LASIK eye surgery. Like LASIK eye surgery, PRK uses an Excimer laser to reshape the cornea. However, PRK works directly on the outer surface of the cornea.
Another name for a similar procedure is LASEK and epi-LASIK
Surface laser is safe and effective but has a very slow recovery and may leave patients with a tendency to recurrent erosion (pain in their eyes on waking in the morning)
At Custom Vision Clinic we now rarely perform surface laser eye surgery, because newer procedures offer similar benefits (like being able to treat those with thinner corneas or those who engage in contact sports and work). Keyhole laser eye surgery, where the laser reshapes the cornea without the need to make a flap, is called ReLEx SMILE ™.
This procedure has all the great benefits of LASIK (fast visual improvement and short recovery time) with the associated benefits of not cutting a flap in the cornea (no flap complications, less dry eye, improved comfort during the operation) and none of the downsides of surface laser eye surgery (more discomfort and shorter recovery time).
Ideal candidates for surface laser eye surgery include those patients who – for various reasons – are not suitable for LASIK.