Surface laser treatments are performed directly beneath the clear skin layer of the cornea (the corneal epithelium), which is removed by the laser (TransPRK) or the surgeon (LASEK) before laser reshaping to correct vision. Visual recovery is slower than for LASIK because it takes the skin layer a few days to grow back and a few weeks to smooth off optically. Surface laser treatments are often the best option for patients with thinner corneas.
Once the surface cell layer has healed the vision starts to improve, and typically reaches the driving standard one to four weeks after surgery, depending upon the prescription treated. Most patients require a week off work after surgery.