PRK Eye Surgery

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of refractive surgery to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and is the predecessor to the popular LASIK procedure. Though PRK recovery takes a bit longer than recovery from LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still commonly performed and offers advantages over LASIK for some patients.

Like LASIK and other types of laser eye surgery, PRK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clear vision. PRK Surgery is a Type of Laser Vision Correction.

The main difference between PRK and LASIK:

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) are both laser surgery techniques used to help improve eyesight. PRK has been around longer, but both are still widely used today. PRK and LASIK are both used to modify the cornea of your eye. The cornea is made up of five thin, transparent layers of tissue over the front of your eye that bend (or refract) and focus light to help you see.

In LASIK, a thin flap is created on the cornea with a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. This flap is lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue and is replaced after the cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser

In PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed and discarded prior to reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser. The epithelium repairs itself (grows back over the corneal surface) within a few days after surgery.

What happens during PRK?

You’re given numbing drops so that you don’t feel any pain during the surgery. You may also receive medication to help you relax. The top layer of cornea tissue, the epithelium, is fully removed. This takes about 30 seconds.
An extremely precise surgical tool, called an excimer laser, is used to fix any irregularities in the deeper corneal tissue layers. This also takes about 30-60 seconds.
A special bandage that’s similar to a contact lens is put on top of the cornea to help the tissues beneath heal.

When is PRK a better choice than LASIK?

PRK is most commonly recommended to patients who aren’t safe candidates for LASIK due to their lack of corneal thickness. The corneal thickness is determined during the FREE LASIK examination and at this time the doctor will recommend the best procedure to correct your vision.

PRK does have added benefits for some patients, regardless of their corneal thickness though. PRK may also be presented as an option for patients who suffer from chronic dry eye, or those who work in certain professions like firefighting/police or participate in certain activities like boxing/MMA where a risk of eye injury is higher and therefore the risk of flap damage following LASIK is possible.