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What is PRK?

While not everyone is a candidate for LASIK surgery, there is still hope for people who wish to regain quality vision. Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK, is performed at Colorado Cataract Laser & Vision, and is a highly effective alternative to LASIK surgery. PRK was approved by the FDA in 1995, and was the first refractive surgery to use a laser. PRK can help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness as well as astigmatism.

Is PRK right for me?

Common symptoms that lead to PRK include:

  • Tired of glasses or contact lenses.
  • Cornea’s too thin for LASIK Surgery.
  • Irregular or scarred cornea.
  • Astigmatism.
  • Poor depth perception.

If you are not a candidate for LASIK and answered yes to one or more of these questions, contact us today to setup a consultation!

What to expect on the day of PRK surgery

You will arrive at the office where you will be greeted by our team where we will answer any questions you may have. From here you will be given a comprehensive eye exam to ensure the surgery will be safe for your eyes. We will make sure you are relaxed and comfortable before the procedure.
During the Surgery
PRK ColoradoPRK surgery is always performed under topical eye drop anesthesia, which completely numbs the cornea so patients feel nothing during the 30 to 60 seconds it takes to apply the laser prescription to the eye. PRK surgery is very similar to LASIK surgery, however the corneal flap is not created. Instead of the flap creation, the central portion of the thin outer layer of the cornea is removed from the eye. Once this layer has been removed, the excimer laser is used on the surface of the cornea to reshape it. A contact lens is then placed on the cornea which serves as a natural bandage and allows the eye to heal.

The PRK procedure from beginning to end takes about 10 minutes per eye.

PRK ColoradoThe initial healing may take several days longer than that of LASIK, but the long term effects are the same. After the treatment, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are applied prior to going home. The vision will slowly return as the surface of the eye heals over two to four days. The eye drop antibiotics are usually discontinued by one week, and anti-inflammatories are reduced and stopped over a three month period.

The Excimer Laser

The excimer laser generates its power from light in the ultraviolet range, and cannot be visualized by the human eye. The laser causes miniscule amounts of corneal tissue to dissociate at a microscopic level. The laser actually does not generate any hear, and therefore no tissue damage occurs during this process. Microscopic layers of tissue, approximately 1/10th the width of a human hair, are removed.


How is PRK different than LASIK?
PRK is similar to LASIK eye surgery, in that the same type of EXCIMER laser is used, but a corneal flap is not created. Instead, a laser beam is applied directly to the surface of the eye to reshape the cornea.
Does PRK surgery hurt?
You will not feel pain during PRK surgery as our staff will place an anesthetic eye drop in your eyes. A pain medication may be prescribed as well if necessary. Many patients who have had PRK report that no more than mild discomfort is felt for a day or two after surgery.
How long does the surgery take?
Patients who choose to have PRK surgery, experience about a 10 minute (per eye), painless procedure.
How long does it take to heal from PRK surgery compared to LASIK?
While the long term effects are the same as LASIK surgery, it does take several days longer for recovery.