PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of refractive surgery to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and is the predecessor to the popular LASIK procedure. Though PRK recovery takes a bit longer than recovery from LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still commonly performed and offers advantages over LASIK for some patients. Like LASIK and other types of laser eye surgery, PRK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clear Vision
The main difference between PRK and LASIK is the first step of the procedures.
In LASIK, a thin flap is created on the cornea with a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. This flap is lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue and is replaced after the cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser.
In PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed and discarded prior to reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser. The epithelium repairs itself (grows back over the corneal surface) within a few days after surgery.
|Less depth of laser treatment than LASIK||Slower recovery than LASIK|
|Suitable for patients with a thin cornea||Best vision takes longer to obtain|
|No risk of corneal flap complications||Increased risk of post-surgery infection, inflammation and haze|
|Reduced risk of compromised corneal thickness||More eye discomfort during early PRK recovery, compared with recovery after LASIK surgery|