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Dr. Thomas Biggs ● Dr. Arlin French
Board Certified Ophthalmologists

Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)

Photo-Refractive Keratectomy or PRK was originally performed in the late 1980’s and has continued to advance with constant improvements in diagnostic and laser technologies along with innovative surgical techniques and post-operative management protocols.

Several years after PRK was approved, surgeons adopted another type of Laser Vision Correction called LASIK. With LASIK, a corneal flap is folded back to allow the inner tissue of the cornea to be treated. The corneal flap is then folded back over the treated area. But LASIK is not for everyone.

Some patients have corneas that are too thin for LASIK or have ocular conditions that cause them to experience itchy and dry eyes. Some patients, like law enforcement personnel and athletes, could also experience problems with a LASIK flap if they receive a blunt force trauma to the eye.

Because the procedure has changed so much, not everyone calls it PRK anymore. Today it is called such names as Advanced Surface Ablation, Advanced Surface Treatment, LASEK and Epi-LASIK.

The procedure is very similar to that of LASIK, but no flap is created. During PRK, the surface cells of the cornea, called the epithelium, are removed using a dilute chemical solution. [Doctor Name] then uses the [Insert Laser Name] laser to reshape the cornea to the desired correction. A laser treatment usually lasts an average of 30 seconds depending on the amount of correction necessary. A soft contact lens is placed on the eye to act as a “Band-Aid” to promote comfort and healing of the surface cells. This will be removed by the doctor within 5-7 days after the surgery.

Ideal PRK Candidates

  • People between the ages of 21 and 45, although there is no age limit
  • Mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism
  • People who don’t qualify for LASIK due to thin corneas or irregular topography


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