PURPOSE: To compare clinical outcomes of patients undergoing first re-treatment by flap relift with those re-treated by surface ablation on the flap after an initial myopic laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) procedure. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort analysis of consecutive patients who underwent myopic LASIK and required re-treatment between January 2007 and December 2016. Cases re-treated by flap relift were propensity score matched with cases re-treated by surface ablation, and clinical outcomes were compared. One eye from each patient was included. RESULTS: A total of 1,234 out of 21,191 cases required re-treatment after myopic LASIK during the follow-up period. Surface ablation was performed in 75% of cases and relift in 25%. Patients re-treated by surface ablation were more commonly male (61.8% vs. 48.1%, P < 0.001), were younger (33.2 ± 7.8 vs. 35.2 ± 10 years, P = 0.005), and had thinner corneas (483 ± 46 vs. 502 ± 43 μm, P < 0.001). Propensity score matching was performed for 416 eyes (208 from each group). After matching, differences in baseline characteristics became nonsignificant (P > 0.05). Cases re-treated by surface ablation had a worse safety index (0.98 ± 0.12 vs. 1.02 ± 0.17, P = 0.049), yet better predictability (0.14 ± 0.6 vs. 0.35 ± 0.5 diopters of deviation, P = 0.009), a similar efficacy index (0.92 ± 0.2 vs. 0.93 ± 0.3, P = 0.814), higher rates of haze (5.8% vs. 0.5%, P = 0.002), and a lower risk for epithelial ingrowth (0.5% vs. 8.2%, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Re-treatment after myopic LASIK with surface ablation resulted in worse safety and higher rates of haze, yet more predictable outcomes and reduced ingrowth rates, compared with re-treatment with flap relift.