Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is the predecessor to LASIK eye surgery, and is still a common form of laser vision correction. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the laser energy is applied directly to the surface of your eye. This causes the removal of your eye’s outermost layer (the epithelium).
Some patients might be better able to achieve their vision correction goals with PRK than LASIK. For an evaluation of your vision, please call 800-334-2233 to schedule an appointment at one of Northeastern Eye Institute's 15 convenient office locations.
PRK vs. LASIK
Although the results of PRK are comparable to LASIK, the recovery process is different. Because the epithelium layer is removed during PRK, it will take a few days for this layer to regenerate and re-cover the surface of your eye. There is a slightly higher risk of visual haziness and eye infection in the first few days after PRK compared to LASIK recovery.
Improvement of your vision after PRK is also more gradual than LASIK. Your final results may take several weeks to become apparent. However, PRK does have some distinct benefits, such as:
- Can be used on patients with thinner or steeper corneas
- No risk of complications with a corneal flap
- Reduced risk of corneal thickness being compromised
After PRK is completed, a soft contact lens is applied to your eye to help protect it while it heals. It usually takes around five days for your epithelial cells to grow back; once this happens, the contact lens will be removed.
Results of PRK
Most people who undergo PRK are able to achieve 20/20 vision or better. Although some patients may still need to use glasses or contact lenses on occasion, the prescription will be much lower than it was before PRK.
The downside of PRK and all other laser vision correction procedures is that your cornea is permanently altered, meaning your results are not reversible. If your vision needs change over time, you would need a second follow-up procedure. For this reason, many patients consider Visian ICL instead of LASIK or PRK for vision correction. The Visian ICL is completely reversible; it can be changed according to your needs in the future.
If you have further questions about LASIK alternatives, please contact Northeastern Eye Institute online or call our primary Scranton location at (570) 342-3145 today to discuss your vision correction options in greater detail. Dr. Chris Jordan and Dr. Tom Boland, both Board Certified ophthalmologists and refractive surgeons, perform LASIK, LASEK and PRK. We serve patients in Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, and throughout NEPA.