What is PRK, and Should I Get It? - Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute

What is PRK, and Should I Get It?


When most people think about a vision correction procedure, one procedure comes to mind: LASIK. But LASIK isn’t the only vision correction procedure that exists. 

It isn’t even the first vision correction procedure to be made commercially available. Did you know that a procedure called PRK predates LASIK? 

It was the first kind of vision correction procedure, and it’s still offered to this day. Using modern technology, PRK can give patients clear, unassisted vision and complete freedom from glasses and contact lenses. 

But when LASIK and other vision correction procedures exist, why get PRK? To understand that, keep reading to learn more about how PRK works and how it’s different from LASIK!

What is PRK?

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is the first-ever refractive laser eye procedure. PRK works by reshaping your cornea to correct refractive errors. 

These include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. These occur due to irregularities in the shape of your cornea. 

Light passes through your cornea, the clear, frontmost part of your eye. It refracts before hitting your retina. 

Light doesn’t refract correctly through your cornea when you have irregularities due to a refractive error. But by changing the shape of your cornea, light can refract through it correctly.

PRK procedures use a special kind of laser called an excimer laser to reshape the cornea into the correct shape. But before the excimer laser can be used, there needs to be access to the cornea. 

There’s a protective layer over the cornea called the epithelium. When you have PRK, the epithelium is removed using a chemical scrub. 

After the procedure, a bandage contact lens is put on the eye to protect it while the epithelium regrows. It only takes about 14 days for the epithelium to regrow. 


PRK and LASIK are very similar procedures. They’re both refractive laser eye procedures. 

Both also use an excimer laser to correct the shape of the cornea. The primary difference between these procedures involves how they access the cornea. 

During PRK, a surgeon removes the epithelium. But LASIK creates a flap in the cornea using another kind of laser called a femtosecond laser. 

They lift the flap and then use the excimer laser to remove precise, minimal amounts of tissue from the cornea. Removing this tissue helps reshape the tissue underneath. 

After removing the necessary tissue, the flap gets placed back down, acting as a natural bandage while the eye heals. No stitches or sutures are used during LASIK to help heal during recovery.

Because of the corneal flap, LASIK patients can see significant visual improvement immediately after the procedure. They also experience a faster initial recovery period. 

PRK takes slightly longer to recover from initially, and patients don’t see visual improvement immediately. It may take a little longer to heal from PRK, but it’s worth it. 

Also, the final results of LASIK and PRK are virtually identical. Most patients end up with 20/20 vision or better after LASIK and PRK. What’s not to love about achieving visual freedom?

Who is a Good PRK Candidate?

Between the two, the LASIK procedure is more advanced than PRK. It also tends to have slight advantages over PRK. 

However, because you need to create a corneal flap during LASIK, you need to have thick enough corneas. If your corneas are too thin, you can’t have LASIK. 

It can become unsafe and may cause severe complications or problems with your vision. Removing even a tiny amount of tissue from the cornea when your corneas are too thin is not a good idea. If your corneas are too thin, this is when alternative procedures like PRK get introduced.

PRK is perfect for patients who would otherwise qualify for LASIK but don’t have corneas thick enough to create a flap in the cornea safely. If you’re over 18, have a stable prescription, and are in good health, chances are you’ll make a great candidate for PRK even if your corneas aren’t thick enough for a LASIK procedure. 

When you choose PRK over LASIK, you can still look forward to the same incredible results. There’s no reason why not qualifying for LASIK should mean that you can’t achieve the vision correction results you want.

Long-Lasting Results

Initial recovery from PRK takes a few days longer than initial recovery from LASIK. But these initial recovery periods are usually about a few weeks in total. 

After that period, your eyes will feel normal. Then, over the next few months, your vision will continue to improve until it reaches its peak once your eyes are fully healed after 3-6 months. 

This is the case for both PRK and LASIK, even though LASIK patients see some immediate improvement. By the time your eyes are fully healed from PRK, you’ll have just as good vision as any LASIK patient.

PRK has permanent results, too, just like LASIK. The procedure won’t “wear off.” 

Since you have to have a stable prescription before PRK, your vision is unlikely to change significantly after the procedure. Neither PRK nor LASIK prevents age-related vision loss. 

However, you can still get decades of incredible vision from either procedure. The younger you are when you have a vision correction procedure, the more years of visual freedom you can look forward to. 

Why wait? Find out if PRK is right for you today by scheduling a commitment-free consultation with Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute in Orlando, FL!

Those who know choose Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute

Beautiful office. Amazing and caring staff. Getting my surgery done Saturday and the Doctor and the staff helped choose the right option for me and I didn't feel pushed to commit. One of the only few who commits the patient to a dry eye treatment as per my research. Post-surgery I hope to keep my 5 star rating because I have nothing bad to say!

Yogi Nayyar (Google), February 2020

I recently did my LASIK procedure about 1 week ago and was completely blown away from beginning to end with the SERVICE received from the entire staff at Herschel LASIK. The office is beautifully decorated and the staff was always professional, personable, knowledgeable and friendly. I particularly enjoyed the way that everything was explained clearly before, during and after my procedure and questions were always encouraged and answered. My experience was the best encounter to date with a physician. Excellent doctor + excellent support staff +excellent service = excellent experience and a happy customer. Thank you so much Dr. Herschel, Doris and Francesca.

Vernicia Sturrup (Google), September 2019

Great service, sometimes a bit of a wait, but I take a full lobby as a sign of a well recommended doctor. Staff is friendly & quick to answerphones & squeeze me in when I got an eye problem. Would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to get LASIK. Doctor even personally called to check on me the night after my procedure.

Stephanie G. (Yelp), January 2020

I got my LASIK procedure done here. I was apprehensive, mostly because anything to do with my eyes kind of freaked me out.
I went under a free consultation. The nurses/assistants were very nice and they answered any questions I had. Then I met Dr. Herschel and he was very nice and understanding. He explained all that would happen, how everything works, how long recovery will be, everything.
So, I agreed and start the process. I love the fact you always meet with Dr. Herschel at every appointment.
I now have 20/20 vision.
I'd highly recommend going to him for all of your vision needs.

Kelsea K. (Yelp), November 2019

Great surgeon and great staff. Do your research, Dr. Herschel is more than just a LASIK surgeon. He is certified and specializes in all areas of eye surgery so have peace of mind that you are getting one of the best. They use current technology and machines. More so, if your eyes aren’t ready for surgery he has no problem delaying 1-2 weeks until they are 100% good-to-go. He will not risk your health for the sake of money.

Dave T. (Yelp)
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