Photorefractive keratectomy, also known as PRK, is LASIK’s predecessor and is still performed today as an alternative. Instead of accessing the corneal tissue by making a flap (a critical step in LASIK surgery), our doctors will remove the outer skin of the cornea and apply the laser directly to the cornea’s surface.
PRK has helped many individuals who struggle with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism to achieve clearer vision and independence from glasses or contact lenses. If you’d like to learn more about this LASIK alternative, contact the Laser Eye Center team, serving Los Angeles, Orange County and all Inland Empire areas.
PRK candidates generally have corneas that are too thin to withstand LASIK. Candidates should be at least 18 years old, with a stable eye prescription for at least a year and no serious eye disease or injury that could heighten the surgical risks or outcome. We also recommend that pregnant or nursing candidates not undergo PRK.
Our team meets with each PRK candidate to explain the procedure and its possible risks in greater detail, as well as answer any questions.
The PRK Procedure: What to Expect
To begin PRK, the eye surgeon removes the thin layer of skin protecting the cornea (called the epithelium). The surgeon then uses a laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue, which allows light to properly enter the eye and improve vision. After laser treatment, the cornea is covered with a bandage contact lens. The epithelial cells grow back within a few days, at which point the contact lens is removed.
PRK is a very quick procedure, and anesthetic eye drops are applied to prevent any discomfort.
A note about safety: LASIK is an extremely safe procedure, but the creation of the corneal flap does allow for the possibility of complications (either during surgery or recovery). Because PRK does not involve the creation of a corneal flap, it eliminates the risk of flap-related complications.
Recovering from PRK
Immediately following surgery, you will be escorted to a recovery suite to rest for a short amount of time. Please make arrangements for a family member or friend to drive you home after surgery. We recommend that you relax and sleep for the rest of the day following your procedure.
Our doctors will schedule a follow-up appointment to check your healing progress, answer any questions and remove the bandage contact lens when appropriate.
PRK recovery can take longer than recovery from LASIK. Because the surface cells of the cornea are removed, there may also be a bit more post-operative discomfort; however, this is temporary and should not last longer than a week or so.
Studies have shown the outcomes of PRK and LASIK to be very similar. Vision tends to return to normal more quickly after LASIK, but around the six month mark, the results are comparable.
Schedule a PRK Consultation Today
If you do not qualify for LASIK, and are seeking a suitable alternative, consider PRK at Laser Eye Center. Our Los Angeles and Orange County eye surgeons would be happy to speak with you about the procedure during a personal vision correction consultation. Please call (800) 805-2737 or email us today to schedule an appointment.