A Look at What Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is and How it Works

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When it comes to correcting astigmatism, hyperopia (farsightedness), or myopia (nearsightedness), many people turn towards refractive surgery to correct their vision problems. However, there’s a few different options on the market you should be aware of when it comes to repairing your vision… without the need of glasses or contacts. With this being said, we’re providing some information as to why PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is an excellent choice and what it provides to a client looking into (no pun intended) refractive surgery.

What’s PRK Surgery?

Being a surgery that has been performed for over twenty years, it is the process in which the cornea’s outer layer is removed. Once the outer layer is removed and the area is exposed, an excimer laser sculpts the cornea’s stromal layer to correct the refractive errors. This surgery allows light to enter the eye properly, which allows the retina to focus properly. Here’s a few of the specifics as to why so many people turn to this surgery to correct their vision:

  • Procedure: The procedure takes about ten minutes per eye.
  • Results: PRK results in 20/20 vision without the assistance of contacts or glasses.
  • Recovery: Recovery from surgery often lasts from a few weeks to a few days.
  • Price: The price of  the surgery can range from $1,500 USD to $2,500 USD per eye.

The Difference Between PRK & LASIK

PRK has often been the go-to surgery for vision correction, but the market has widened to make way for other methods of refractive surgery. One of the other popular eye surgeries on the market is LASIK, which is essentially the same in terms of the laser treatment process. However, a major difference between the two surgeries is that LASIK creates a thin, hinged flap on the cornea. This flap allows access to the area in need of treatment for the surgery.

Another form of refractive surgery (in the vein of LASIK) is LASEK. This surgery process is basically the same as LASIK, but it preserves the epithelial layer of the cornea and replaces it once surgery is over. However, LASEK has become unpopular due to the fact the the recovery times are often much slower than that of LASIK or PRK.


This decision may be inevitable for those searching for refractive surgery. With both having their own perks and disadvantages, here’s a look at the perks PRK has to offer:

  • PRK works with less laser depth than LASIK.
  • PRK works for patients with a thin layer of cornea.
  • PRK offers no risk of corneal flap complications/infections.
  • PRK offers a reduced risk of the corneal thickness being compromised.

However, there’s a few disadvantages that come with PRK surgery. Some of the disadvantages that come with PRK are:

  • LASIK recovery is faster than PRK.
  • The best vision possible takes longer to acquire through surgeries.
  • PRK has increased risks such as haze, inflammation, and post-surgery infection.
  • Early PRK surgery offers more eye discomfort than LASIK surgery.

The PRK Surgery Process

The PRK surgery process only has a few steps for operation. The few steps involved for PRK treatment and operation goes as follows:

  • Step 1: The eye surgeon removes the center of the corneal epithelium with a special alcohol solution. This is done with a blunt surgical device.
  • Step 2: The excimer laser is used to re-shape the cornea’s surface.
  • Step 3: A soft contact lens is applied to help the eye heal and protect the eye.

After five days have passed since surgery, the doctor will remove the bandage as the new epithelial cells have repaired your eyesight.

Considering the information above, PRK surgery is the longest running method of eyesight enhancement surgery and remains the most popular form of eyesight operation. Being a reliable and trustworthy, PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is the best route towards restoring your eyesight and looking at the world the way it should be seen. If you are thinking about having eye surgery head on to one of our Diamond Vision offices for a free consultation exam. Lasik Laser Surgery in Atlanta will help you see better than ever. 

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