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What is PRK?

PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy, is the first generation of laser vision correction technology. Since 1989, millions of people have had their vision corrected with PRK. Commonly referred to as ‘surface ablation’, PRK uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

PRK is recommended when the surgeon determines it is the only safe option, particularly for patients with corneal abnormalities.

PRK Candidacy & Treatments

During your complimentary consultation, you will undergo diagnostic testing to determine your candidacy for laser vision correction. To understand what procedure is right for you, you will meet with one of our experienced Refractive Consultants to discuss your vision goals, ask any questions you might have, share the results of your diagnostics and eye examination, book your procedure date, and discuss any pre-operative instructions.

PRK may be the preferred laser vision correction procedure:

  • When a pre-existing problem is present on the cornea, like thin, steep, or irregularly shaped corneas, and results in better vision than with ReLEx® SMILE® or LASIK.
  • When there is a structural abnormality in the cornea, making LASIK or ReLEx® SMILE® unsafe.

If your consultation reveals you are not a candidate for PRK, we are pleased to offer other refractive procedures, including ReLEx® SMILE® and LASIK, as well as intraocular procedures: Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and Intraocular Collamer Lens (ICL).

What is the difference between ZEISS ReLEx SMILE, PRK, and LASIK?

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What to Expect

To prepare for your procedure, there may be a few pre-operative considerations. All of these will be shared with you by your Refractive Consultant and the doctor during your comprehensive consultation. Some of these instructions might include:

  • Switching to glasses and refraining from contact lens wear for 1-8 weeks (depending on the type of contact lenses you wear)
  • Arranging transportation to and from Herzig Eye Institute for your procedure day

The PRK procedure is done one eye at a time, while the other eye is covered. To stop you from blinking, your surgeon will use a lid speculum and apply topical anesthetic numbing drops to prevent any pain. Once the epithelium is gently removed, the excimer laser will be used to reshape your cornea. The laser will track and adjust to any eye movement.

Once complete, a soft bandage contact lens is placed on the eye to protect it and promote healing. The process is then repeated on the other eye.

Directly following the procedure, you will be examined and given your first set of drops. After your examination, it is recommended you go home and rest as you may experience sensitivity. Discomfort is normal during this time. The drops and medications provided will help minimize this discomfort.

A medicated drop regimen needs to be followed after the procedure. For four to five days after the procedure, the protective contact lens bandage must remain on to help promote the healing of the epithelium. While the healing time is longer for PRK, your vision will continue to improve and stabilize in the days and weeks following your procedure.

Other directions will be provided by your Refractive Consultant, the nurses, and the surgeon on the day of your procedure.

It is critical you are seen for all necessary post-operative follow up appointments at Herzig Eye Institute or with your referring optometrist. The typical post-operative follow ups are: 1 day, 4-5 days, 1 month, and 3 months after your procedure. Additional appointments may be recommended.

This content has been reviewed and approved by the surgeons at Herzig Eye Institute

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