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What Is Advanced Surface Ablation Photorefractive Keratectomy?

Advanced surface ablation photorefractive keratectomy (sometimes just called "PRK surgery") is similar to LASIK surgery, except that no flap is created on the surface of your eye.

Advanced surface ablation photorefractive keratectomy uses an Excimer laser just like in LASIK to gently reshape the surface of your cornea. Changing the shape of your cornea improves your vision so you don't need to wear glasses or contacts.

What Happens During PRK Surgery?

During advanced surface ablation, your surgeon will first put anesthetic eye drops in your eye so you don't feel any pain or discomfort.

Next, your surgeon will place an alcohol-based solution on the surface of your eye to loosen the surface cells. Your surgeon will then gently remove the outer surface of your cornea (epithelium) before correcting its shape.

Your surgeon will use an Excimer laser (just like in LASIK) to reshape your cornea so you no longer need corrective lenses. Right after your procedure, your surgeon will place a soft contact lens on your eye. This contact lens protects your eye by acting like a bandage.

Who Can Get PRK?

Most patients who are eligible for LASIK can have PRK. This technique may be preferred for patients with thinner corneas or severe dry eyes.

PRK: Overview

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PRK Recovery

The patient goes home with a soft contact lens bandage over the eye for three to five days. PRK has a longer healing period—visual recovery is about one month. Statistical outcomes for PRK are equivalent to LASIK outcome statistics.

Pros & Cons for Advanced Surface Ablation Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)


  • Those patients who may not be eligible for LASIK may be a candidate for PRK.
  • PRK eases dry eyes.
  • No flap is created during the procedure.
  • PRK is a very predictable and stable procedure.


  • Patients may have episodes of moderate discomfort/pain for one to four days after surgery.
  • Takes longer to heal.
  • Patients usually do not achieve optimal vision for about one month.