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PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a refractive eye surgery technique in which the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) is reshaped using the same excimer laser used in LASIK. The main difference between the PRK and LASIK procedures is that there is no corneal flap created in PRK. Instead, the outermost layer of corneal tissue, called the epithelium, is removed prior to re-sculpting the cornea with the excimer laser. Because the epithelium needs time to heal after surgery, patients who undergo PRK may experience more discomfort post operatively and vision recovery is more gradual than with LASIK. PRK does eliminate the risk of a flap complication, and patients who have PRK get the same visual acuity results as those who have LASIK. This procedure improves nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.


While the corneal flap created during LASIK heals very well, those with strenuous jobs and/or recreational activities may opt to have PRK rather than LASIK to avoid the risk of damaging the corneal flap. This is also the procedure that is recommended for patients who have corneas which are too thin to safely undergo LASIK.

The PRK procedure can be performed once anesthetic drops have been placed in the eye and a gentle eyelid holder has been positioned to hold the eyelids back so that they will not interrupt the surgery. Next, the surgeon painlessly removes the outermost layer of corneal cells, and then the excimer laser reshapes the cornea to correct the refractive error. The actual laser treatment time is typically less than one minute. The surgeon then places a soft bandage contact lens on the eye for improved comfort and also instills anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops. This bandage contact lens is removed after the epithelium is healed, typically on the second or third post-operative day. Some patients may take longer to heal.

At Milwaukee Eye Care Associates, we are confident in our capabilities to provide the best solutions possible to restore your vision so that you can live your life to the fullest. Talk to one of our doctors today to see if the PRK procedure is right for you.

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