PRK Surgery Q & A


Photo refractive keratectomy (PRK) corrects refractive errors through laser surgery. While LASIK, another laser vision correction surgery, was developed after PRK and is more widely used, PRK is still a very common and effective way to reshape the cornea and correct vision problems. The PRK experts at Ford Eye Center in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas are now accepting new patients.

What is PRK?

During PRK procedure, the surgeon removes the outermost layer of the cornea in order to reshape the cornea using laser technology. The result is corrected nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism so that patients no longer need to wear glasses.

Is LASIK Preferred Over PRK?

The recovery period after LASIK is much shorter than that after PRK and discomfort is increased following PRK, but neither procedure is preferred as a whole. Which procedure is recommended depends on each patient’s anatomy and condition. PRK is a better solution for certain patients (like those with dry eye or a thin cornea). Only an experienced ophthalmologist can determine which procedure is right for each individual patient.

Is PRK Safe?

While all surgery is accompanied by inherent risk, PRK is both safe and effective. Rare risks include infection, sensitivity to light, dry eye, visual disturbances with light, especially at night, and a reaction to anesthesia.

How Long is the Recovery Period After PRK?

Following refractive keratectomy surgery, patients often experience blurry vision and discomfort (like a burning sensation) for about three days. However, the full recovery period is closer to six months; that’s when their vision finally peaks in terms of both clarity and acuity.

Is PRK Covered by Insurance?

Most insurance companies don’t cover elective vision correction surgeries like LASIK and PRK. However, Ford Eye Center offers patient financing options to ensure every patient has the opportunity to see better in the way that makes the most sense for them.

What Can Patients Expect During PRK Surgery?

For most patients, both eyes are treated at once. First, drops are administered to numb the eyes and prevent the risk of infection. Then, a speculum is inserted under the eyelids to keep the eyes open. Next, the patient is asked to stare at a red light and hold their eyes as still as possible while the laser is used to reshape the cornea. The entire procedure takes under a minute and then the next eye is done.

The laser makes a variety of noises and even distinctive smells. It can be stopped at any point in time if necessary.