What you need to know about PRK

PRK, also known as photorefractive keratectomy, is a refractive eye surgery that is employed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.  Prior to the introduction of LASIK surgery, it was the most popular type of corrective eye surgery.


PRK is still performed on a regular basis, and it is often compared to LASIK in terms of advantages and disadvantages.  If you’re thinking of PRK surgery, here are some things to consider:


Just like LASIK, PRK reshapes the cornea by using an excimer laser.  The main difference is that with LASIK, a flap is cut on the outer layer of the eye, but with PRK, the entire outer layer is removed.


PRK takes longer to recover from than LASIK because it takes longer for the epithelial cells to regenerate and cover the outer eye again.  However, this is countered by the fact that PRK does not create a flap which is generally thicker and involves more layers of the eye than LASIK does.  With no flap involved, there is also no need to worry about complications associated with it, including inflammation, infection or hazy vision.


Although eye doctors may perform a LASIK procedure on both eyes at the same time, because recovery takes longer, PRK procedures are generally only done one eye at a time.


The good news is that for both LASIK and PRK, you’ll feel no pain because your surgeon will put anesthetic drops in your eye.  Both surgeries are done in less than an hour on an outpatient basis in the doctor’s office.  However, you will need to make sure you have transportation home from the office because your vision will initially be blurry from one to several days, depending on which procedure you have.


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