What is PRK Eye Surgery?

March 1, 2024


Did you know you can enjoy all the benefits of laser vision correction even if you are not a candidate for LASIK? PRK is another type of laser eye surgery that dramatically improves your vision using a unique technology that makes it ideal for most people, even those with thin corneas or conditions that affect their cornea. PRK can correct a wide range of prescriptions such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. 

PRK Costa Mesa & Orange County

What is PRK Eye Surgery?

PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. This procedure is a type of laser eye surgery. Similar to LASIK, it uses a laser to reshape the cornea (clear window in front) of your eyes to correct blurry vision. The shape of your cornea or the size of your eye can cause light to focus incorrectly, so PRK changes the shape of the cornea so light focuses properly on the retina. 

PRK differs from other types of laser eye surgery in the way Dr. Wu accesses your stroma (middle layer of the cornea) to perform the procedure. While LASIK creates a flap in your cornea, leaving the possibility for future flap complications, PRK involves removing just the outer layer of skin (the epithelium) and then allowing it to grow back whole. Because no corneal flap is created, PRK is suitable for those with thin or abnormal corneas as well as those with dry eye problems. 

How Does PRK Eye Surgery Work?

Your PRK procedure begins with numbing eye drops to keep you comfortable, along with a mild sedative. The procedure takes five to ten minutes per eye. Dr. Wu removes the corneal epithelium, the outermost layer, giving her access to the middle layers. The laser precisely removes a minuscule amount of tissue using precise computer programming, to match your eye prescription.  Your corneal epithelium takes three to five days to heal. 

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Am I a Good Candidate for PRK?

Even people who are not good candidates for LASIK can often proceed with PRK. One of the most common reasons people are disqualified from LASIK is thin or abnormally shaped corneas. PRK is often recommended for these individuals. People who engage in contact sports may also benefit from PRK over LASIK since a corneal flap has the potential to become dislodged during eye trauma, while PRK does not pose this risk.  In addition, PRK is a great option for patients who have had previous LASIK and seek an enhancement (touchup) treatment.  

What is Recovery Like After PRK?

You can expect some discomfort, light sensitivity, and blurry vision for five to seven days after your procedure. Vision will start to clarify after the first few days, and most people can go back to work within a week. You can expect some glare, halos, or other visual effects for the next few weeks as your eyes heal. While the recovery from PRK takes longer than other types of laser eye surgery, the final result is comparable. 

What Results Will I See After PRK?

PRK offers excellent visual results. At least 90% of individuals will have 20/20 (normal) vision at three months.  While PRK results are long-lasting, your eyes will experience normal age-related changes over time. These include presbyopia (age-related difficulty seeing things up close) and cataracts that cause lens clouding. How long your results last without further correction depends on how fast your prescription changes and your age at the time you get PRK.  Many people do not need any form of visual correction, while others only need them for certain activities like reading or driving at night. 

Dr. Wu helped me get Lasik and now my vision is great! No more contacts or glasses. I had dry eye afterwards but that was expected; followed instructions and now all is good. Thank you!
John w.

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Want to know more about PRK laser eye surgery? Please fill out the form on this page or call (949) 208-9090 to schedule your appointment.

We proudly serve the Costa Mesa & Newport Beach areas.