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At NNJEI, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is “Why can’t I see clearly, and what can I do about it?” Poor vision can be the result of any number of causes, but oftentimes it’s a result of the eye’s inability to process light properly. To be able to see clearly, light must first pass through the cornea (which does about ¾ of the work) and then through the lens, which makes the necessary adjustments so you can focus. In this process, the cornea and the lens must refract light rays to the retina, which then converts thelight rays into impulses so the brain can recognize them as images.

 Person with eyeglasses

For different reasons, eyescan develop problems in their ability to properly refract light, and these problems typically result in nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Fortunately, refraction errors are among the easiest eye problems to correct. People can choose to use eyeglasses or contact lens…or if they are looking for a more permanent solution they can opt for eye surgery. For those of you who are considering the latter, there are a number of options to choose from, each with it’s own set of benefits. Below is a chart that should help clarify the differences between three of the most popular and effective eye surgery procedures:


PRK(PhotoRefractive Keratectomy)

LASIK(Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis)

LASEK(Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis )

The Procedure:



The cornea’s entire outer layer (the epithelial) is removed to expose the area. Then, an excimer laser sculpts the stromal layer of the cornea of the eye.

A thin, hinged flap is created on the cornea to access the treatment area. Then, excimer laser sculpts the stromal layer of the cornea of the eye.

Unlike PRK and LASIK, LASEK involves lifting the epithelial layer and then replacing it on the eye's surface towards the end of the surgery.

Appropriate When:



The patient has a thin cornea

In most situations, regardless of the thickness of the cornea

The patient has a thin cornea

Procedure Details:



Generally painless and lasts up to 20 minutes

Generally painless and lasts up to 20 minutes

Generally painless and last upto 20 minutes




Slower recovery than LASIK, because it takes a few days for new epithelial cells to regenerate.

Healing time is typically faster than PRK/LASEK procedures.

The healing process is longer than LASIK because the outer part of the cornea (epithelial) is removed and will have to grow back on its own.

A Good Fit For:



Good for situations when there is concern over compromising corneal thickness.

LASIK is particularly effective at correcting refractive errors such as Myopia, Hyperopia, and Astigmatism.

Procedure is often associated with better long-term results, when compared to LASIK.




Patients may suffer discomfort during recovery.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reports that 9 out of 10 patients achieve a result between 20/20 and 20/40 vision.

Patients less likely to experience, dry-eye, when compared to LASIK patients.


It’s important to remember that every patient’s situation is unique, and that’s why it is a good idea to consult with eye care experts who have experience with all different kinds of eye surgery procedures. So, if you’re considering surgery as an option for improving your vision we encourage you to contact us for a free evaluation.