PRK (Photokeratectomy): The process

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During PRK, the thin outer membrane of the cornea, called the epithelium, is loosened and then removed, exposing the surface of the thick central part of the cornea, called the stromal bed. The laser then reshapes the stromal surface (thus the PRK moniker, "surface ablation") according

to the patient's vision error. The entire process takes just minutes to perform.

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The epithelium then heals over the exposed surface during the following several days, during which time the eye can experience varying degrees of irritation. Although vision is typically improved immediately following the procedure, maximum vision recovery can take several weeks. While the PRK post-op recovery is longer than LASIK, this is a relatively small price to pay to enjoy visual outcomes comparable to LASIK, but without the unique risk that LASIK poses for some patients. In fact, PRK outcomes are considered so good, that the U.S. Navy has recommended the procedure for naval aviators. In a major PRK study undertaken by the Navy, 95% of pilots and flight crew achieved 20/20 or better, 80% 20/16 or better, and 50% 20/12.5 or better (20/12.5 is far superior to 20/20)!