What Is PRK?
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy or PRK became popular worldwide in the early 1990s and in the USA in 1995 when the excimer laser was first approved by the FDA for laser vision correction. The excimer laser brought tremendous advancements to refractive surgery.
With PRK, surgeons use state-of-the-art computer technology in combination with the accuracy and precision of the excimer laser to treat a wide range of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK has proven to be extremely successful, with the vast majority of patients having visual results of 20/20 to 20/40, thereby reducing or eliminating their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
PRK is performed in the comfort and convenience of an outpatient excimer laser suite. First, very powerful eye drops completely numb the eye. Next, the clear, protective surface layer (epithelium) of the cornea is loosened from the underlying layers of the cornea and is either removed completely or moved to the side. Then, in a matter of seconds, the excimer laser is applied to the cornea, reshaping it to the correct focusing power. After the procedure, a protective contact lens bandage is placed on the eye to make it more comfortable during the healing process. It usually takes three to five days for the epithelium to fully heal.
Most PRK patients notice an improvement in their vision soon after surgery. However, vision is usually somewhat blurred during the epithelial healing process. Many PRK patients prefer to have one eye treated at a time with the second eye being treated within a week or two.