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PRK – What It Is and Why You Should Care

PRK - What It Is and Why You Should Care

PRK is the abbreviation for Photorefractive Keratectomy. This is a refractive laser eye surgery that can help to correct common vision problems or eliminate and reduce their dependence on contact lenses or eyeglasses. This type of laser eye surgery preceded LASIK eye surgery, and it was the most common type of eye surgery until LASIK surgery gained popularity.

How PRK Differs From LASIK Surgery

Both surgeries permanently correct your vision by reshaping your cornea. A laser removes part of your eye’s tissue underneath your epithelium. However, before you can reach the tissue underneath, you have to get the epithelium out of the way, and this is where the procedures start to differ.

With LASIK surgery, a small flap is created for the laser to go through to slowly reshape your cornea. At the end of the procedure, your eye doctor replaces this flap. With PRK surgery, it removes the cornea’s outer layer completely to get to the cornea to reshape it. This outer layer regrows after a few days.

Why Choose PRK Surgery Over Other Options

PRK is a less invasive surgical option. Since this surgical choice totally removes your outer corneal layer, the laser has a larger area to work with during the procedure. Photorefractive Keratectomy is a good option for people who have a thinner cornea and who would be at a bigger risk with LASIK surgery.

It’s usually also recommended for people who have dry eyes on a chronic basis. There is a reduced risk of issues or infection with PRK because there is no flap of tissue that needs to heal. This is especially important for people who lead lifestyles that put them at greater risks for eye injuries like law enforcement, athletes, and military personnel.

However, since there can be slightly more discomfort and longer healing time, LASIK is still more popular. It takes a few days for the outer corneal layer to heal with PRK surgery. Additionally, you may not see clearly for three days, and total healing time can extend up to six months. You’ll also have to put eye drops in for a few months to help the healing process along.

The process for getting PRK surgery starts with a consultation with a professional and knowledgeable ophthalmologist like Dr. Moshegov. We invite you to contact us to set up this initial consultation and discuss your options.