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Home Blog What is PRK? (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy)

What is PRK? (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy)

PRK surgery was the first type of laser eye surgery to treat asthenopia and was used before the popular LASIK method. Although the recovery period for PRK is slightly longer than for LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still common and offers more benefits than LASIK for some patients.

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of refractive surgery for the treatment of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. PRK surgery was the first type of laser eye surgery to treat asthenopia ) weak_eyesight( and was used before the popular LASIK method. Although the recovery period for PRK is slightly longer than for LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still common and offers more benefits than LASIK for some patients.

LASIK and other types of laser eye surgery, such as PRK, work by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light to enter the eye to focus on the retina.

Who are the best candidates for PRK?

Patients with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism are suitable for PRK surgery.

Procedure time: about 10 minutes per eye

Sample results: 10/10 eyes without glasses or lenses

Recovery time: a few days to a few weeks

Cost: Contact us to get the best prices

What is the difference between PRK and LASIK?

The main difference between PRK and LASIK is the first step, the methods. In LASIK, a thin flap is created on the cornea with a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. This flap is used to remove the underlying corneal tissue, then the cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser. In PRK, the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed with an excimer laser before reshaping the underlying corneal tissue. The epithelium regenerates itself on the surface of the cornea within a few days after surgery.

What is the difference between PRK and LASIK?

Another type of PRK is Lasak surgery, in which instead of removing the epithelial layer of the cornea as PRK, the epithelial layer (using a surgical tool called trephine) is preserved during the surgery and then is replaced at the eye level at the end of the procedure. LASIK has reduced the popularity of PRK due to its greater visual improvement compared to PRK because the recovery of the replacement epithelial layer in LASIK takes less time than the growth of a new epithelial layer in PRK. (PRK).

How much does eye PRK cost?

At Noavavaran Clinic, PRK is also performed with a 50% special discount. You can use this special discount normally without any insurance. Just enter your number in the field below so that our colleagues will contact you.

Comparison of PRK with LASIK

The final results of PRK surgery are comparable to the results of LASIK, but the initiatory recovery from PRK is slower. Because it takes a few days for new epithelial cells to prepare to heal and cover the surface of the eye. Also, in the first few days after surgery, there is a possibility of eye infection and poor vision. LASIK patients generally experience less discomfort and their vision stabilizes faster, while PRK vision improvement is gradual and the final result can take several weeks. However, PRK offers different benefits. Since PRK surgery does not create a corneal flap (which includes the epithelial and deeper stromal tissues), the entire thickness of the underlying stroma is substantially available for treatment. If your cornea is too thin for LASIK surgery, then the remaining cornea will be thinner. Also, there is no risk of flap complications and the risk of removing the cornea with an excimer laser is also reduced.

Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of PRK

Longer recovery time than LASIKLaser depth less than LASIK
Long time for a full recoverySuitable for patients with a thin cornea
Increased risk of infection, inflammation, and wound after surgeryNo risks and complications of the corneal flap
Compared to after LASIK surgery, eye discomfort is more in PRK early recoveryReduces the risk of corneal thickening


First, the surgeon sterilizes a central part of the corneal epithelium with an alcohol solution, a “buffing” device, or a surgical instrument. Then, an excimer laser is used to correct the curvature of the corneal surface. This highly specialized, computer-controlled laser emits pulses of cold ultraviolet light that remove microscopic amounts of tissue in a precise pattern. Then a lens with a soft “bandage” texture is placed on the cornea to protect your eye. New epithelial cells grow in about four or five days and finally, the lens (bandage) is removed from the eye by the surgeon.

What do you expect from PRK surgery?

First of all, you should choose a surgeon who is a PRK surgeon, the surgeon will perform a complete examination of your eyes to ensure that you have the conditions for laser eye surgery or not, this assessment includes the following:

  • The size of your pupil.
  • Evaluation of eye moisture to determine the risk of dry eye after laser surgery and how to treat it.
  • The curvature of the cornea is examined using specialized equipment to accurately measure the lines of the front surface of the cornea.
  • Cornea thickness.

The doctor will review your general health status as well as the medications you are taking to determine if you have the right conditions for this type of surgery or not. If you wear contact lenses, you may need to stop using them before the eye exam, as they may change the shape of the cornea. It is recommended to consult your doctor about this.

Learn more about the PRK procedure

While LASIK is often used for vision correction surgery, PRK may be the best option in certain situations. In fact, PRK eye surgery is performed on a walk-in, walk-out basis. In fact, the actual surgery usually takes 15 minutes. You will be awake during the procedure, but the surgeon may prescribe sedation to keep you calm.

Also, sterile eye drops will be poured into your eyes and special equipment will be used to keep the eyelids open. Then the surgeon directs the excimer laser on the eye, which is programmed for precise adjustment.

What happens during PRK operation?

You will be asked to stare at a light for a short time while the surgeon examines your eyes through a microscope as the laser sends pulses of light into the cornea. Microscopic laser energy removes some tissue and changes the shape of the cornea. Although pressure may be felt on the eye, most patients do not feel discomfort with this method. Your surgeon has full control over the laser and can turn it off at any time. The operation is performed on each eye separately (often on the same day or the next day) and the surgery on each eye takes only five minutes. Some patients have both eyes treated on the same day, while others have surgery on their second eye a week or two later. The surgeon covers the treated cornea with a lens or bandage. The new epithelium will grow and there will be no need to use bandages or lenses.

After the operation:

You will be asked to stay in the clinic for a short time after the surgery. It should be noted that you will not be able to drive and someone else will have to drive you home. The surgeon will prescribe you topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory and painkiller medications to reduce post-operative discomfort, minimize any swelling and speed up recovery as with other surgeries, and follow the instructions provided. Follow up with your doctor to ensure the desired results and visit your doctor in the next few weeks to follow up on the healing process.

In the PRK method, the recovery time takes a little longer, if, after the LASIK surgery, recovery may be achieved days or weeks earlier than PRK, and the stability of vision is also more. Most of the patients who use the PRK method can usually drive one or three weeks after surgery, but it may take three to six months for the vision to become completely normal and stable.

Long-term results in PRK surgery

This type of laser eye surgery has been performed in the United States since 1980 and outside the United States since 1995, has a very high success rate, has made significant progress during this time, and is still the best treatment choice in certain situations. The results of PRK and LASIK surgery are very similar. Most of the people after the surgery achieve about 10/10 vision or even more. Some patients may still need glasses or contact lenses, but their needs are significantly less than before the operation. If photosensitivity (sensitivity to light) is a postoperative problem, glasses with photochromic lenses can often be helpful. Also, if refractive risks remain after surgery, there are flexible lenses that can often compensate for your vision for activities such as night driving. The complications of LASIK after the operation are very few and can include infection and dazzling light (or light aura, which is more common when seeing light at night, such as driving). In case of the mentioned complications, although the probability is very low, you may need additional surgery or augmentation to improve your vision or, over time, your vision will return to its pre-operative state. Also, reading glasses may be needed after surgery after the age of 40, and the cause of that disease is myopia. While LASIK is one of the most common laser eye procedures today, it is important to use your surgeon’s guidance to determine if PRK or LASIK is right for your individual situation.

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