While LASIK involves creating a corneal flap, lifting it and then reshaping the cornea, PRK works differently.
In PRK, the epithelial cells on top of the cornea are removed, and then reshaping is done beneath these cells. The cells are then allowed to regrow.
PRK has many small variations and is also known as surface ablation, e-LASIK, epi-LASIK, LASEK and so on. But the essence of the technique remains the same, with the same advantages and limitations.
Relative to the LASIK procedure, PRK involves considerable pain during the first 24 hours following the procedure. Though painkillers are usually prescribed, they are usually not adequate. PRK also means a longer period of visual rehabilitation. The unaided visual recovery takes about a month to recover, relative to a day for LASIK.
PRK also has some advantages. Relative to LASIK, it is simpler to perform and does not need a costly microkeratome or femtosecond laser. It also keeps the cornea structurally stronger relative to LASIK. Finally, in cases where there is poor epithelial adhesion to the remaining cornea, it remains a procedure of choice.
Dr. Rupal Shah has performed several thousand PRK procedures, in addition to several thousand Blade Free LASIK, ReLEx, and Conventional LASIK procedure. Thus, she selects the procedure that is most appropriate for the patient, based on their need and based on ability to pay, rather than being dogmatic and only preferring one procedure over all others.