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LASIK vs LASEK vs TransPRK What’s the difference?

Written by Mr Daniel Gore, Director of Refractive Surgery

19 November 2021
  • What is LASIK, LASEK and TransPRK
  • Understanding surface laser treatments

The most common types of laser eye surgery that we offer at Moorfields Private are LASIK, LASEK and TransPRK. These treatments can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses and correct poor eyesight.

All of these techniques are performed using eye-drop anaesthetic and a spring clip to allow you to blink safely during surgery. It is usual to operate on both eyes. The laser takes only a few seconds; the whole procedure 10 - 20 minutes depending on the type of laser treatment.


During this procedure, the surgeon will use two lasers. The first is used to make a thin protective flap in the cornea – the clear window at the front of the eye.

The flap is then lifted up so that a second laser can reshape the tissue
beneath. The protective layer is then smoothed back and sticks in place without stitches.

Reshaping the tissue beneath the flap means that we’re able to keep the surface of the cornea intact, so it heals very quickly. There is generally very little discomfort for the patient after LASIK and the vison recovers fast with most patients able to work the following day.

Surface laser treatments (LASEK and TransPRK)

These treatments are done on the surface of the cornea and involve removal of the surface ‘skin’ layer at the front of the eye, with a laser to reshape the tissue immediately beneath.

The clear layer on the surface of the eye regrows over the first few days, smooths off to complete the visual recovery over the following few weeks. Vision is initially very blurred, and you’ll need to take up to a week off work;

improvements in vision continue for several weeks. The eyes can be painful and sensitive to light for the first 24 - 48 hours following surgery. You will be given anaesthetic drops and additional pain killers to help during this period.

All surface laser treatments produce similar results and the only difference between them is the way in which the corneal skin layer is removed by your surgeon.

In LASEK, dilute alcohol is applied to loosen the skin layer first. TransPRK uses modern laser systems that are able to remove the skin layer as part of the reshaping treatment. The area of skin layer removal in TransPRK is reduced to the minimum required for reshaping the cornea
beneath, shortening recovery time by one to two days in comparison with LASEK.

Moorfields Private Eye Hospital and Covid-19: Keeping our patients and staff safe

We know some patients are feeling anxious about coming in for their appointments at the moment, but we want to reassure you with the
measures we have put in place to help protect you.

Moorfields Private is in a unique position as Moorfields Eye Hospital has been open for emergencies and sight saving eye care throughout the entire covid-19 pandemic.

This experience has given Moorfields Private a wealth of knowledge around how best to protect patients and staff in these challenging times, while continuing to deliver world-leading eye care.

Further information about our safety measures can be found here.

Further information

For further information about Moorfields Private Eye Hospital’s services contact our New Patient Team on:

Freephone: 0800 3283 421

Email: moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net

Website: www.moorfields-private.co.uk

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