Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is an outpatient surgical procedure designed to improve vision. PRK is effective in correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK is generally the alternative to LASIK when the patient’s cornea is too thin, or the curvature of the cornea is too steep. Patients sometimes choose PRK when involved in a lifestyle that requires maximum corneal strength, such as karate and boxing.

Both LASIK and PRK are laser-assisted procedures that provide patients the ability to free themselves from eyeglasses and contacts. Before LASIK, PRK was the most commonly performed laser vision correction procedure. PRK gives excellent safety and vision results, and dates back to 1986 which shows the procedure is tried and true. Just like LASIK, PRK is an elective outpatient laser vision correction procedure. The difference being that instead of creating a protective flap, the doctor begins by removing the thin outer layer of the cornea. From there, a customized laser treatment is applied to the surface to start reshaping the cornea. After the surgeon obtains the desired correction, a contact lens is placed in the eye for about one week, while the epithelium cells regenerate. The layer regenerates itself over a few days and antibiotic eye drops are used to help with the healing process .

Even though visual results are equivalent between LASIK and PRK surgery, PRK patients report more discomfort and there is a longer recovery period needed. Most patients return to normal activities after approximately 5-7 days compared to only one or two days with LASIK. Vision quality will continue to improve over the next few weeks and months after your PRK procedure. Some patients with no major corneal problems and patients with mild to moderate nearsightedness sometimes decide that PRK is the right choice.

The most common reason for denied LASIK candidacy is poor corneal thickness. Inadequate corneal thickness can lead to complications when a corneal flap is created. This is where PRK is a great substitute. If you have been told in the past that you are not a good candidate for LASIK, call Topeka LASIK Center to setup a free refractive evaluation. PRK may be a great option for you.

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