Surface Laser/PRK

In surface laser treatment, there is no need for creating a corneal flap. Instead the same excimer laser used in LASIK, reshapes the cornea directly on the surface after removal of the clear skin layer of the cornea. This skin layer will regrow over a period of about one week. While the skin layer is regrowing, the eye surface can be quite sore.


The final visual result with surface laser treatment is similar to LASIK; however, due to the need for the corneal surface to heal, the visual recovery is usually slower than with LASIK. However, surface laser treatments are often the safest option for patients with thinner corneas and those who intend to get back to contact sport soon after surgery. Specialised surface laser treatments are also used increasingly commonly to correct visual problems arising after injury, infection or previous eye surgery.

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Common types of surface laser treatments are PRK, LASEK and most recently, TransPRK. The main difference between these procedures is the way in which the corneal skin layer is removed. In PRK and LASEK, the skin layer is removed mechanically by the surgeon – in LASEK dilute alcohol is applied to loosen the skin layer first.

At St Paul’s Laser Vision, we have one of the most advanced lasers in the UK (Schwind Amaris excimer laser system 1050RS) which is able to quickly and painlessly remove the skin layer as part of the reshaping treatment. This is the latest form of 'no-touch' surface laser treatment called TransPRK. The recent 'SmartPulse' technology allows for a smoother and even faster tissue removal. The area of skin layer removed in TransPRK is reduced to the minimum required for reshaping the cornea beneath, shortening recovery time by about two days in comparison with PRK and LASEK.

Surface Laser/PRK procedure

Step 1

The excimer laser removes tissue…

Step 2

... through the surface layer of the cornea

Step 3

The surface layer of the cornea regrows

Before your treatment

1. Welcome

You’ll be seen by your surgeon who will review your clinical measurements, examine you and answer any questions that you may have.

2. Drops

Local anaesthetics eye drops will be instilled in the eyes to ensure they are completely numb and comfortable throughout the procedure.

3. Laser

The advanced laser reshapes your cornea in less than two minutes.

4. Drops

Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops will be instilled into your eye, followed by a contact lens.

5. Aftercare

You’ll be taken to a rest room to relax.

6. Future

You’ll be given your post-surgery drops and instructions and a follow appointment up will be arranged between 1-5 days.

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with one of our professional surgeons, in a safe hospital environment.

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