PRK is a procedure for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and Astigmatism.

PRK is an elective, outpatient laser vision correction procedure to improve vision and reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. In the PRK laser vision correction procedure, the laser surgeon utilizes the excimer laser to reshape the curvature of the eye for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. PRK differs from LASIK as no flap is created during the PRK procedure.

PRK is less frequently used than in years past because of the development of LASIK. However, in some individual cases, PRK may still be the procedure of choice. Even though the initial healing may take several days longer than that of LASIK the long term effects are the same.

You may be a good candidate for PRK if you meet the requirements for LASIK and have any of the following conditions:

  • larger pupils,
  • thin corneas,
  • other corneal issues,
  • or dry eyes.

The Procedure – In Detail

PRK is similar to LASIK eye surgery, in that the same type of laser is used, however a corneal flap is not created. No scalpels are used and no incisions are made.

After numbing drops are inserted in the eye, Dr. Harvey removes the protective surface layer (epithelium) from the cornea. This epithelium is naturally regenerated within three to five days.

Next, Dr. Harvey smoothes the area and applies the laser with computer controlled pulses of cool laser light to reshape the curvature of the eye. The deeper cell layers remain virtually untouched. The cornea normally maintains its original strength since a layer that is only about as slender as a human hair is typically removed.

The PRK laser vision procedure is completed in approximately 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately afterwards, a clear bandage contact lens is placed on the cornea to protect it and improve comfort while the eye is healing.

After the PRK procedure, the patient’s eye may feel irritation or a foreign body sensation for a few days, but discomfort can usually be effectively managed with medication. PRK patients are placed on antibiotic drops, along with anti-inflammatory agents to promote comfort and reduce swelling.

Once the epithelium is healed, usually on the second or third post-operative day, the bandage contact lens is removed by Dr. Harvey. To complete the healing process, PRK patients use steroid anti-inflammatory drops for approximately two months under the direct supervision of the eye doctor.

The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis so that the patient is able to leave the surgery center the same day. Patients are advised to arrange for someone to drive them to and from surgery.

More information can also be found at Dr. Harvey is a LASIK surgeon with TLC Laser Eye Center in Eau Claire and free consultations are available by calling 877.TLC.2388.