PRK - Laser Eye Surgery - Refractive Surgery
PRK (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy)
PRK is another refractive laser eye surgery that is often preferred for many of the same reasons as LASEK. It is usually recommended for patients with corneas that are thin or irregularly shaped. Many patients also choose this procedure because it is generally considered to be slightly safer than LASIK because there is no need to create a corneal flap, which is the usual cause of problems that may occur with LASIK.
However, with the use of Intralase (femtosecond) laser technology for creating the corneal flap in LASIK, the safety of LASIK has been greatly improved and many would argue whether PRK is safer than Intralase all laser LASIK.
PRK utilizes the same laser technology as LASIK and LASEK. The main difference is that it avoids making any flap at all. Similar to LASEK, the laser is used to sculpt the corneal tissue at the surface of the cornea just under the very thin epithelial layer. However, instead of lifting the thin surface layer out of the way (as in LASEK), the epithelial layer is completely removed and simply allowed to re-grow over the next 3-4 days. Just as in LASEK, a bandage contact lens is left in the eye for about four days to allow the epithelium to heal under it and to improve comfort. Ultimately, this procedure is not very different from LASEK, however, in patients who have had LASEK in one eye and PRK in the other, most will perceive less discomfort and slightly quicker visual recovery in the LASEK eye.