PRK (Photo-Refractive Keratectomy) Surface Ablation

PRK is an option for patients who wish to undergo refractive surgery to correct refractive errors but are not good candidates for LASIK. Many individuals who have thin corneas or have had previous refractive surgery are poor candidates for LASIK, but can safely undergo PRK. Corneal scarring, which makes LASIK eye surgery impossible, does not rule out the PRK procedure. The same is true for certain corneal dystrophies and recurrent corneal erosion.

PRK was the first procedure performed using the Excimer Laser. It corrects vision by reshaping the cornea. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that with LASIK a corneal flap is created and the laser is applied to the inner tissue of the cornea.  The flap is then repositioned.


With PRK, the epithelium (or outer skin of the cornea) is removed and a laser is applied to the surface of the cornea.


After this procedure, a contact lens is placed on the eye and left in place for four to seven days, allowing the surface cells to grow back under the contact lens.

PRK  Candidates:

  • – In order to undergo PRK, patients must be over 18 and have stable vision for at least one year before surgery.
  • – People with moderate levels of myopia or hyperopia who have corneal abnormalities that make them not best suited for LASIK  are good candidates for PRK.
  • – However PRK may also be used for people with high prescription levels and for active military personnel.
  • – PRK is the procedure of choice of the United States military for Special Forces units.


Recovery from PRK

The biggest disadvantage that PRK has compared to LASIK eye surgery is that it takes longer to recover after the PRK procedure. Recovery is also somewhat more uncomfortable for PRK patients than it is for LASIK patients.

The corneal epithelium must re-grow, and while it does, recovering patients will need to wear protective contact lenses.

During the recovery period patients have to use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help during recovery. During this time, patients may also experience fluctuating vision as this tissue heals. This is normal, and vision should stabilize over time.

If you are searching for an alternative to LASIK eye surgery or if you have been told that  you are not a suitable candidate for LASIK , undergoing the PRK procedure may be the ideal solution.

If you are interested in laser vision correction call us at 281-420-EYES (3937) to set up for a FREE LASIK CONSULTATION or Schedule Online.

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