The Difference

You may be considering the benefits of vision correction, but are unsure which procedure can help you see clearer. The decision to have eye surgery is a big step and the better informed you are about the procedures, the better prepared you’ll be to. And while you can contrast and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure, it is ultimately the role of your ophthalmologist to recommend the procedure that’s right for you after a thorough eye evaluation.

At Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc., Dr. Huynh performs LASIK, PRK, and LASEK to help San Diego patients see better with a clear, natural view. He has performed eye surgeries thousands of times and has an extensive ophthalmology training and research background. Dr. Huynh is also uniquely prepared to deliver incredible results with these laser procedures thanks to his Ph.D. in biophysics and superior surgical skills.

Here are some basic differences of LASIK, PRK, and LASEK:


LASIK stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis. As the most popular vision correction choice, LASIK helps correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism through the use of our high-tech VISX STAR S4 laser with Wavefront technology. During LASIK, Dr. Huynh uses femtosecond laser technology also known as Bladeless IntraLase to create a corneal flap. After the flap is created, the S4 laser precisely targets the exposed cornea, reshaping it to fit your individual specifications.

LASIK has a slightly quicker recovery rate because the corneal flap is replaced as opposed to ablated, and patients will experience less post-operative discomfort than the other two procedures. LASIK patients will also gain visual acuity faster than with PRK and LASEK. LASIK is considered to be a more complex procedure that utilizes sophisticated technology and requires a particularly high level of surgeon skill.


PRK and LASEK are known as surface ablation procedures, meaning that the superficial corneal surface is treated with the excimer laser, compared to inside of the cornea that is reshaped during LASIK.


PRK stands for photo refractive keratectomy. In PRK, a thin layer of the epithelium is completely removed — there is no flap creation as in the other two procedures. Once the corneal layer is removed, it will regenerate in a matter of days. PRK may be a good LASIK alternative for patients with thin corneas or who have certain eye conditions that might increase their risk of complication during LASIK.


LASEK stands for laser epithelial keratomileusis. During LASEK, the flap creation is done differently than Bladeless LASIK using an instrument called a trephine and a special alcohol solution. The epithelium is loosened and folded for corneal access. The cornea is then reshaped using the VISX STAR S4 laser for clearer vision, and the flap is replaced. LASEK may also be a good alternative to LASIK for patients with thin corneas.

All three procedures have proven to be extremely effective in treating vision correction. Research has shown that although the side effects/complications possible may vary somewhat, the success rates are very high for all procedures, with little variation in percentage of patient achieving 20/20 vision. You may be able to achieve great vision results with any one of the procedures, depending on your degree of correction and Dr. Huynh’s recommendations.

Contact us for laser vision correction details and find out how our advanced procedures can dramatically improve your vision and your life. If you are in San Diego, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, or Scripps Ranch, call or email Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc. for your free LASIK consultation with Dr. Huynh.