Photorefractive Keratectomy


What is PRK?


PRK is a vision correction procedure that alters the shape of the cornea to change how light enters through the eye. By changing the cornea’s shape, PRK can fix – nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

PRK is similar to Lasik in many ways, and produce similar outcomes. PRK is FDA-approved and is a safe and stable procedure for qualified patients. PRK and LASIK are both considered “laser vision correction surgery,” but each is a little different when it comes to advantages and disadvantages.



PRK and LASIK both use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea. Although, before using the laser to reshape the cornea a part of the outer layer must be removed. Your cornea is made up of epithelium and stroma. Epithelium is on the outer layer of the cornea and is able to replace itself over time. The stroma is located beneath the epithelium and is permanent corneal tissue with very limited regenerating properties.

The main difference between the two surgeries is due to how much epithelium and stroma is removed before the excimer laser begins to reshape the cornea.

LASIK creates a flap to remove both epithelium and stroma from the cornea before the excimer laser can begin. With PRK no flap is created, but the epithelial cells are completely removed.

In other words, LASIK requires more of the cornea to be used during surgery, while PRK uses less of the cornea, but the part it does use is completely removed.

Advantages of PRK

The biggest advantage of PRK is that it only needs to remove the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium).

PRK surgery is not for everyone, and you should always talk with your doctor about what’s best for you.

If you relate to the following, then PRK may be right for you:

Large Pupils
Thin Corneas
Irregular Astigmatism

Also, if you participate in a contact sport, or have a physically demanding job than PRK might be better suited for you. High contact athletes who undergo LASIK are at a higher risk for complications.

PRK advantages


PRK removes all of the outer layer of the cornea. Thus, the eye must regenerate the outer layer before vision is improved. You will likely experience hazy vision during the recovery process. Also, after the surgery, you will receive a temporary bandage to protect your eye while it regenerates the outer layer.

Recovery Time:  Discomfort during the first 3 days following surgery and gradual improvements over a few days to weeks