PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) is a refractive correction procedure that involves removing the front surface of the cornea (the epithelium or “skin”) and then applying the same laser used in LASIK procedures to shape the cornea. Surgeons use a brush or an alcohol application for 30 seconds to remove the epithelium. After the procedure a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye for 4 days to help with comfort and assist healing.
Advantages of PRK are that it leaves you with a thicker cornea and there is no possibility of having any flap complication. It is the recommended treatment for those with a high prescription or thin cornea because of the thicker bed that is left after. Because there is no flap it is recommended for those that are in situations where there is an increased risk of trauma (military, police, fireman, football player, etc…). Disadvantages to PRK are the mild to severe pain that lasts 2-3 days and the slower visual recovery time (4-7 days for “functional” vision and 1-2 months for best vision). Risks with PRK include developing haze with large amounts of correction, which has been reduced substantially with the use of Mitomycin C and infections, which has also been reduced, substantially with the use of stronger antibiotics.