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Moorfields Private Blog

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    LASIK vs LASEK/PRK – what’s the difference?

    Written by Mr Dan Gore, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
    • What is LASIK, LASEK and PRK
    • Understanding surface laser treatments

    LASIK vs LASEK PRK vs SMILE – what’s the difference_resize

    The most common types of laser eye surgery that we offer at Moorfields Private are LASIK, LASEK and PRK. These treatments can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses and correct poor eyesight.

    All of these techniques are performed using eye-drop anaesthetic and a spring clip to allow you to blink safely during surgery. It is usual to operate on both eyes and the surgery typically takes about half an hour. You can return home on the same day as surgery.


    During this procedure, the surgeon will typically use two lasers. The first is used to make a thin protective flap in the cornea – the clear window at the front of the eye. The flap is then lifted up so that a second laser can reshape the tissue beneath. The protective layer is then smoothed back and sticks in place without stitches.

    Reshaping the tissue beneath the flap means that we’re able to keep the surface of the cornea intact, so it heals very quickly. There is generally very little discomfort for the patient after LASIK and the vison recovers fast.

    Surface laser treatments (LASEK, PRK and TransPRK)

    These treatments are done on the surface of the cornea. The surgeon removes the surface layer at the front of the eye and uses a laser to reshape the tissue immediately beneath the clear layer of the cornea.

    Learn more about what to expect when you have laser eye surgery

    The clear layer on the surface of the eye regrows over a period of about a week, then smooths off to complete the visual recovery over the next three months. The eyes can be painful and sensitive to light for the first 24 hours following surgery.

    All surface laser treatments produce similar results and the only difference between them is the way in which the corneal skin layer is removed by your surgeon. In LASEK, dilute alcohol is applied to loosen the skin layer first. TransPRK uses modern laser systems that are able to remove the skin layer as part of the reshaping treatment. The area of skin layer removal in TransPRK is reduced to the minimum required for reshaping the cornea beneath, shortening recovery time by one to two days in comparison with PRK and LASEK.

    Or speak to the New Patient Enquiry Team:

    0800 328 3421





    Mr Dan Gore

    Written by Mr Dan Gore

    Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon