What Is PRK, and Is It Right For Me?

woman in mask and glasses

Are you hoping to ditch your glasses for good, but you don’t qualify for LASIK? Perhaps you’re a suitable candidate for PRK.

PRK is an alternative to LASIK and is better for certain people who are not LASIK candidates. Keep reading to learn more about PRK and see if it is the right vision correction procedure for you!

What Is PRK?

PRK is a laser vision correction procedure that is similar to LASIK. It’s often recommended for patients who don’t qualify for LASIK or other refractive procedures.

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, treats near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. Like LASIK, it uses a laser to change the shape of your cornea to correct these refractive errors.

Common vision problems occur because your eye is unable to bend or refract light properly. PRK changes the shape of your retina, which improves your vision by fixing the way light rays focus on your retina.

PRK can reduce your need for glasses or contacts or even end your need for visual aids.

Is PRK Right For You?

If you have thin corneas, PRK may be a better option for you than LASIK. That’s because PRK doesn’t create a flap with your epithelium as LASIK does.

The epithelium is the outer layer of your cornea. The middle layer of your cornea needs reshaping to correct your vision.

LASIK and PRK both reshape the middle layer of your cornea. To access the middle layer, the epithelium needs to be out of the way.

During LASIK, your surgeon creates a flap with your cornea to access the cornea’s middle layer below. But if your cornea is too thin, this can be dangerous and disqualifies you from getting LASIK.

PRK is better suited for patients with thin corneas because it does not create a flap with your epithelium. Instead, during PRK, your surgeon removes your entire epithelium.

This process is safer for people with thin corneas. Your epithelium grows back during your recovery period.

Other factors, besides corneal thickness, also determine your eligibility for PRK. Your eye doctor will work with you to determine if it is the best treatment for you.

What To Expect When You Undergo PRK

Eye Exam

Before any eye procedure, you have an eye exam with your eye doctor. During this examination, they check your vision to ensure it hasn’t changed recently and check for other eye conditions.

Next, your eye doctor measures the thickness and dimensions of your cornea. These measurements get programmed into a computer that helps to guide the procedure.

The Procedure

To begin PRK, your surgeon numbs your eyes with anesthetic drops. These take about thirty minutes to take effect. After that, the entire procedure lasts about 15 minutes.

Once the drops have numbed your eyes, your epithelium gets gently removed. Then you stare at a specific spot to keep your eyes still while a laser reshapes your cornea.

The reshaping process is relatively quick, and once it’s over, you can go home to begin recovery. PRK is an outpatient procedure usually performed in your eye doctor’s office.


Your vision will be blurry for a while after the procedure but will improve as your eye heals. A bandage will cover your eye to help it heal, and you will need to have someone drive you home.

Take a couple of days off of work and try to rest as much as possible during that time. Rest and relaxation quicken the recovery process.

Are you looking to get rid of glasses and contacts forever? PRK may be the procedure for you. Schedule an appointment at Vermont Eye Laser in Burlington, VT, to find out!

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