PRK, or photo-refractive keratectomy, is very similar to LASIK laser vision correction. The primary difference is that during this procedure a flap is not created on the surface of the cornea, instead, a small area of the “skin” that covers the surface of the cornea, called the epithelium is removed to perform the procedure. An excimer laser, which is the same laser used for LASIK, uses a cool laser beam, coupled with wave-front technology, to precisely custom reshape the cornea by vaporizing cells within the cornea’s stromal bed. This enhances the eye's ability to focus light and provides better clarity of vision. PRK can be used to treat near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism.
There is no pain during the surgery; in fact, your eyes will be numbed with anesthetizing drops. Special “bandage” contacts are placed on your eyes during surgery and will be removed by the surgeon three to five days after surgery. This allows for the epithelial layer of the cornea to heal. It is suggested that patients allow themselves a couple days to recuperate after surgery. It is normal to feel some discomfort or scratchiness for a couple days after the surgery; the doctor will normally prescribe some medication for any postoperative discomfort. Medicated eye drops and moisturizing eye drops are to be used after surgery for a few days to a few weeks.
PRK is generally performed on patients who have thin corneas or large pupils. While there is a slower recovery, PRK is an incredibly safe and accurate procedure utilizing the most up-to-date technology available.