PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a surgical eye procedure that is used for correcting farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. The procedure is done with a laser that allows the eye surgeon to reshape the cornea so light that travels through the eye will be correctly focused on the retina.
The difference between PRK surgery and Lasik surgery is PRK is accomplished with ultraviolet light beams applied to the surface of the cornea whereas Lasik is applied under the cornea.
PRK offers a highly accurate correction of those with nearsightedness with about 80% of patients having 20/20 vision without the need for eyeglasses or contacts after the first year.
PRK was commonly used to correct vision before Lasik. Although Lasik surgery offers faster eye correction results, PRK can be a good alternative for patients who have thin corneas.
Many patients who have a PRK procedure experience some degree of discomfort for the first couple of days following the surgery and light sensitivity is usually always experienced.
For the first six months following the procedure, the patient may also experience seeing slight halos around images, minor glares, which can be permanent and decreased vision correction when wearing glasses.
Possible risks include infection, over-correction or under-correction, dry eye and possible reaction to the anesthetic.
The PRK procedure is done with the use of a local anesthetic administered to the eyes. The surgeon then removes the thin layer of skin that protects the cornea and reshapes the cornea with the laser.
This usually results in immediate vision improvement, which can eliminate the need for glasses. The procedure takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.
To be a good candidate for PRK the patient must be over 18 years of age, must have a cornea that is too thin for Lasik, must have been wearing the same eyeglass prescription for the last year, must not be pregnant nor planning on becoming pregnant or plan on nursing for the following year.
They also must not have had an eye injury or eye disease.
The cost of PRK is similar to the cost of Lasik surgery. According to a leading industry analyst price report, all forms of laser vision correction surgeries costs on average $1,600 to $2,500 per eye depending on location, surgeon and technology being used.