What is PRK?

Photorefractive Keratectomy or PRK is a type of refractive surgery to correct certain eye conditions such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK was the first laser vision correction technique. During this procedure, your Swagel Wootton surgeon removes the thin, outer layer of the cornea to reach the deeper layers of corneal tissue. Then your surgeon will use a computer-guided laser to remove microscopic amounts of tissue to create the exact corneal contours needed to sharpen your vision. The whole PRK procedure usually takes under 10 minutes per eye. PRK is often seen as a traditional LASIK (situ keratomileusis) alternative because it can be performed on patients who cannot have LASIK due to certain conditions, like thin corneas.

The goal of this laser eye surgery is to correct a refractive error and improve your vision. PRK surgery may reduce or eliminate your need for contact lenses and glasses entirely.

PRK versus LASIK Surgery

PRK and LASIK are different because of how your surgeon accesses the cornea during the procedure. With the LASIK procedure, a thin corneal flap is created on the surface of the cornea. With PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea (the epithelium) is gently swabbed away to allow the surgeon to access the treatment area. This outer layer naturally regenerates after surgery. Both of these procedures treat refractive vision problems like blurry vision and typically eliminate the need for corrective lenses.

PRK Eye Surgery Recovery

The healing process for PRK patients vs LASIK patients is different. PRK recovery time is longer than LASIK because the outer corneal layer needs time to regenerate following surgery. This means that the results appear more gradually and vision improvements will take longer to stabilize. However, PRK is a safe and effective alternative for patients with thin corneas or other restrictions that may prevent them from qualifying for LASIK. Following surgery, patients are required to wear a bandage contact lens to protect the eye while the tissue grows back and use special eye drops for a week following surgery.

Am I a PRK Candidate?

Patients who have thin corneas are at a higher risk for eye injury, or experience dry eye symptoms, typically make good PRK candidates. Schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained eye doctors to find out if PRK might be the best surgical procedure for you.

Why Choose PRK?

PRK is an alternative option for patients because there is no flap creation like with LASIK. This is particularly beneficial for patients who have thinner corneal tissue. Additionally, because there is no flap with PRK, this surgical option eliminates any potential “flap risks.” PRK may also be the preferred option for patients who previously had LASIK and need a “touch up” due to changing refractive error.

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