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What is PRK Laser Eye Surgery?

Optometrist discussing PRK with a patientPRK, Photorefractive keratectomy, is a excimer laser surgery procedure that predates LASIK eye surgery. It is still widely used by ophthalmologists as an effective treatment for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. Dr. Kraff has been performing PRK since 1991, when he was a principal investigator in the FDA clinical trial. Both PRK and LASIK laser eye surgeries work by reshaping the cornea, the clear part on the front of your eye, to improve your vision. In many cases, PRK is a better option for patients who have thin corneas and/or chronically dry eyes.

LASIK vs. PRK Laser Eye Surgery

The main difference between these two procedures is where the laser is applied. In PRK, the eye doctor will use the laser on the surface of the cornea to reshape it, while with LASIK; the laser is used in the mid-cornea.

LASIK requires the eye doctor to make an incision in the cornea and create a flap so that the laser can operate deep in the cornea. After the cornea is carefully reshaped via the laser, the flap is placed back over the cornea and heals within a few days.
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There is no incision required for PRK; instead, the eye doctor will remove the outer layer of the with a brush so that the cornea can be reshaped with the laser. That is why PRK is better for patients who have thin corneas to begin with. Patients will be prescribed eye drops to help the cornea recover after the procedure is competed.

PRK Surgery Diagram

Results of PRK Laser Eye Surgery

Both LASIK and PRK patients can both expect similar improvements in their vision. Approximately 80% to 90% of PRK patients have 20/20 vision without glasses or contact lenses one year after the surgery and 95% to 98% have 20/40 or better without glasses or contacts.

The biggest difference in recovery is that PRK patients are somewhat more uncomfortable for the first 48 hours. Since there is no flap, the complications are decreased.

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Which Procedure is Best?

Our eye doctors are experts in various forms of laser eye surgery. Please contact us to learn which procedure is best suited to your condition. Our staff will help to set up a consultation with our ophthalmologists to determine the best options to improve your vision today. Please fill out the form above or call our office directly at (773) 777-4444.