The photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is the oldest method of refractive surgery and is used for correction of vision defects since 1987th, newer methods of corneal reduction to improve eyesight are based on the PRK procedure. However, PRK is now an alternative procedure that is only preferred to other laser eye methods in special cases. The reasons lie in the tolerability of the procedure. Patients using the PRK method have a larger wound area, which can lead to pain and scarring. For this reason, vision improves only after a long time.

If you need a PRK eye surgery for your vision correction, Torrance eye doctors are available to provide you the top notch eye treatment 24/7. Use the online scheduler or call the office nearest you for the best concierge ophthalmology service.

Benefits of the Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Eye Surgery

  • Suitable for patients with thin corneas.
  • Healing process with few complications (thanks to the protective contact lens).
  • Easy implementation of post-corrections.
  • The PRK offers the patient the opportunity to choose a tissue-sparing procedure, since in comparison to LASIK only the epithelium has to be removed.
  • Low cost (compared to other laser eye procedures).In particular, the low complication rate of PRK and the at least equivalent results compared to other refractive surgery procedures allow this technique to be used even more than 20 years after its introduction.
  • Requirements for PRK Eye Surgery.
  • The PRK treatment is suitable for people with:
  • Myopia up to max. −8 diopters.
  • Farsightedness up to max. +3 diopters.
  • A corneal curvature up to max. 3 diopters.


  • Stable diopter values (over a period of at least 1 year)
  • Sufficiently thick cornea (remaining thickness after the treatment must be at least 250 µm).
  • No chronic progressive corneal diseases (keratoconus such as thinning / deformation of the cornea).
  • No eye diseases such as glaucoma (glaucoma) or cataracts.
  • No general diseases such as connective tissue diseases (collagenoses), autoimmune diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus type 1 or multiple sclerosis) or wound healing disorders.
  • Minimum age 18 years.
  • Not for pregnant or breastfeeding women

Procedure of a PRK Eye Surgery

The PRK eye surgery is carried out on an outpatient basis and takes about 25 minutes. After the anesthesia and fixation of the eye, the cover membrane of the cornea (corneal epithelium) is removed with a blunt, surgical knife and the cornea is exposed. The excimer laser is used in the next step. This removes the previously calculated part of the cornea.

In this way, the refractive power of the cornea is changed in such a way that the incident light rays are correctly bundled and fall onto the retina and produce a sharp image. Finally, the corneal epithelium is pushed back and covered with a contact lens. This contact lens protects the epithelium that has not yet firmly grown during the first 3 to 5 days. It is not necessary to wear an eye bandage. When the superficial healing of the epithelium is complete and the cover skin has grown back, the contact lens is removed. The final result is only visible after 2-3 months.

Risks and Complications of PRK 

  • Temporary pain, clouding of the cornea (haze), dry eyes, reduced vision
  • Limitations of twilight and night vision
  • Gloss effects (glare)
  • Light halos (halogens)
  • Over or under corrections (rare)
  • Infections of the eye (rare)
  • structural weakening / bulging of the cornea (keratectasia)
  • Adhesion or wrinkling of the corneal layer (very rare)
  • Healing disorders
  • Double contours
  • Scarring on the cornea


In order to determine the subjective expectations, optical conditions and possible contraindications, a medical preliminary examination is necessary. This takes about 1.5-2 hours and includes the following steps:

  • Determination of the exact subjective ametropia.
  • Determination of the corneal thickness with an ultrasonic pachymeter or an anterior chamber OCT.
  • Corneal topography to determine corneal curvature and irregularities.
  • Measurement of the pupil size.
  • Intraocular pressure measurement.
  • Examination of the tear film.
  • Determination of the amount of tear production.
  • General ophthalmological examination of the anterior, middle and posterior sections of the eye using a slit lamp examination.
  • Anamnese

Soft contact lenses should not be worn 2 weeks before the PRK operation and hard contact lenses should not be worn 4 weeks beforehand. It is also advisable to use public transport or a taxi to go to the operation, as driving vehicles is prohibited immediately after the operation. Eating and drinking is allowed on the day of the operation. Smoking, make-up or perfume should, however, be avoided.


In order to get the best results and to avoid complications, patients should take the administered pain reliever and anti-inflammatory eye drops as directed by the doctor. It is also important to attend all check-ups. These take place after 1-2 days, a week and within the six months following the procedure.

You should avoid the following activities after the PRK surgery:

  • Eye rubbing
  • sporting activities (at least 2 weeks)
  • Exercise of the profession (at least 1 week)
  • Sauna, solarium and swimming pool visits (at least 2 weeks)



Author's Bio: 

My name is James K Meyer. I have been an entrepreneur and passionate blogger for over a decade, during which time I have written thousands of articles on my blog and many other publications. I write about Business, Health, Technology, Automobiles, Legal, Hospitality and much more. I am also an active contributer on Entrepreneur, Forbes, NYTimes.