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.