Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) is an alternate laser procedure for patients who have thin corneas where LASIK may not leave enough residual tissue behind.
During PRK, surgeons utilize the same excimer laser used during iLASIK but a flap is not created. Instead of a 110-micron flap, only the top 50 microns of the surface are removed. PRK is a quick, comfortable procedure, and is performed on-site in our convenient outpatient excimer laser suite.
Topical anesthetic eye drops are first used to fully numb the eye. Next, the protective surface (epithelial) layer of the cornea is gently loosened and removed. Seconds later, the excimer laser reshapes the corneal tissue to the correct focusing power.
Once the procedure is complete, a protective contact lens bandage is placed over the cornea to allow for comfortable healing. Generally, complete healing of the epithelium is achieved in 3-5 days.
Many PRK patients notice improvement only a short time after the procedure. However, vision often blurs over the following few days as the epithelial healing process forms a little ridge near the center of the cornea. Over the next few weeks as the eyelid blinks, it will smooth out the central ridge and the vision will gradually get much sharper. Many PRK patients prefer to have one eye treated at a time, separated by a two-week-long healing period.