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Photorefractive Keratectomy Surgery (PRK)

There are alternatives to LASIK surgery. One of the main alternatives is PRK or photorefractive keratectomy. Available since 1995 in the United States, PRK eye surgery has been performed elsewhere for about 20 years.

The results from PRK eye surgery are similar to LASIK, but the procedures and post-op are different.
Also, with the advent of LASIK surgery, PRK is performed on a drastically smaller group of people.

Candidacy for PRK Surgery

Candidacy for PRK eye surgery is similar to LASIK. The one difference is that PRK allows a wider array of candidates, especially those with corneal scars, other corneal conditions or more distinct aberrations. Also people with thinner corneas, who can’t use LASIK, can use PRK eye surgery.

PRK Eye Surgery Pre-Op

Like LASIK, PRK patients will be told to stop wearing contacts a week or two before surgery. They shouldn’t take any medication that might make them drowsy or wear makeup. They’ll be told to arrange post-procedure transportation.

The PRK Surgery Procedure

Here’s where the differences between the procedures take shape. Both use lasers to sculpt the cornea. However, while LASIK cuts a flap into the cornea, PRK avoids the flap altogether and sculpts an area of the cornea. The major difference here is that the cornea’s dome retains its strength during PRK.

It also allows surgeons to use PRK on a wider range of visual conditions.

The procedure will take no more than 10 minutes on average per eye.

PRK Eye Surgery Post-Op

Up to this point, we’d opt for PRK; it’s less invasive and offers a wider range of care possibilities–fire up the laser! But there’s never a free lunch, and while LASIK’s hiccup is the corneal flap, PRK’s is the post-op.

There is likely to be pain–not mind-searing pain, but likely more pain than LASIK. Expect a couple days of discomfort.
You will need to wear a special contact lens, which protects the eye and allows it to heal quicker. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed, as well. Also, don’t expect to be behind the wheel for a few days.

While most LASIK patients reach full vision by a week’s time, PRK patients wait between three and six months before their vision reaches its potential.

PRK Advantages to Standard LASIK

PRK Disadvantages to Standard LASIK

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