PRK (Photo-Refractive Keratotomy)

PRK eye surgery New Jersey

PRK ChartIf you're not an ideal candidate for LASIK eye surgery, PRK could be an option that you may want to consider. PRK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. This is a highly effective alternative to LASIK eye surgery, and has been an extremely useful in resolving low degrees of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

There are numerous reasons why one of our physicians would recommend PRK over other treatments but mostly because a patient has: a thin cornea, an irregular shaped cornea, or the cornea is scarred. PRK surgery starts with one of our physicians at Witlin eye care applying anesthetic drops to the cornea. After the drops are applied the corneal epithelium is completely ablated by an ultraviolet excimer laser. This is where the difference between PRK and LASIK lies, PRK completely removes the corneal epithelium while a flap is created in LASIK surgery so that it can be reapplied after the corneal tissue is reshaped. Once the corneal epithelium is removed the excimer laser is then applied to make the appropriate adjustments to correct the refractive error. It does this by sending pulses of the laser directly to the damaged corneal tissue to remove any imperfections. Once completed a bandaged or special contact lens will be applied to assist with the regeneration of the corneal epithelium. Antibiotics or Anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed to you to further prevent any infections and reduce any chance of post-operative complications.

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PRK (Photo-Refractive Keratotomy) Procedure: What happens during PRK eye surgery?

The procedure can be performed once the eye has been numbed with anesthetic drops. A speculum will be positioned to hold your eyelids back just like in LASIK so that you eyelids will not interrupt the actual surgery. The ophthalmologist will then remove the outer cornea cells and proceed with the actual laser treatment. The laser is then positioned to directly treat the cornea. This laser delivery takes less than one minute to complete for most patients. Once the laser treatment or refractive ablation is completed, the corneal curvature is reshaped, thus improving the refractive error. Your ophthalmologist will then place a bandage contact lens on the eye for improved comfort along with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops.

After PRK eye surgery


The recovery process for PRK surgery is generally longer in comparison than other vision correction methods because this procedure completely removes the outer layer of the cornea. The complete regrowth of the outer layer of the cornea generally takes three to five days. Which also means the visual acuity of PRK patients generally takes longer than that of patients receiving Lasik surgery. Even though the healing process after PRK is a bit longer than other treatments the long term improvements that are accomplished with PRK are very similar if not identical with LASIK.

Should I consider PRK instead of LASIK eye surgery?

While LASIK eye surgery is an excellent way to improve the quality of your vision and possibly even eliminate the need for eyeglasses, the procedure is not for everyone. If your corneas are too thin or your pupils are too large, it may rule you out as a candidate for LASIK. However, these factors do not impact your candidacy for PRK, making it an excellent alternative. The best way to find out if PRK is the right option for you is to schedule a consultation at our New Jersey LASIK office.

If you are considering PRK eye surgery you should make sure you ask the right questions so that you can qualify your expectations.

  • Will PRK be painful?
  • What is the refractive surgeon’s experience level with PRK?
  • What is the total cost of PRK eye surgery?
  • Explain in detail what happens in the recovery period.
  • How soon will I be able to return to work?
  • Is PRK as effective as LASIK?