Lasik & Phakic Iol | Alternatives to Lasik | PRK

Photorefractive Keratectomy, commonly referred to as PRK, is a vision correction procedure which uses an Excimer laser to reshape the surface of the cornea, the transparent outer portion of your eye. The laser is controlled by a computer that determines the location, number of pulses, and surface area to be impacted by the laser light beam based on an individual's vision and correction needs.

In 1995, the FDA approved the use of an Excimer Laser for performing PRK in the United States to treat myopia (nearsightedness). This is the use for which PRK is most commonly performed. In 1998, it was also approved for hyperopia (farsightedness).

After its approval, and until the approval of the use of lasers for LASIK, PRK was the most popular form of corrective eye surgery and continues to be regularly performed. It is often used for those individuals who are not good candidates for LASIK, but still fit within the appropriate criteria for refractive eye surgery. This can include patients with thin corneas, dry eyes, corneal dystrophies, corneal scars, or recurrent corneal erosions.


PRK is elective same day surgery. Under eye drop topical anesthesia, the central surface cells of the cornea (epithelium) are removed either mechanically or chemically. Next, the Excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea to lessen or eliminate the need for spectacles or contact lenses. The surgery is typically painless and usually takes only a few minutes. The surgery is performed on one eye at a time. Sometimes both eyes will be treated on the same day, but frequently they are done a week or more apart in order to allow healing and vision restoration.

Advantages of PRK

PRK is highly accurate in correcting many cases of nearsightedness. Approximately 80% of PRK patients have 20/20 vision without glasses or contact lenses one year after the surgery; 95%-98% have 20/40 or better without glasses or contacts.

For more information on PRK procedures in the St. Louis area through Washington University Physicians or to make an appointment, please call 314-996-3300

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