What is PRK laser surgery (or photorefractive keratectomy)?

PRK laser surgery was the first introduced refractive laser surgery method, which has been performed successfully for more than two decades. The PRK method is a good alternative to LASIK in a situation where short-sightedness is smaller than 4 dioptres. In exceptional cases this method can also be used to correct larger refractive disorders if medically indicated. In case of correcting long-sightedness, the results of PRK are less reliable than those of LASIK.

What will happen during the procedure?

During the procedure the surface layer of the cornea of the eye (epithelium) is removed under a microscope, and then the next layer of the cornea is finished with a laser beam for a pre-calculated number of seconds. The remodelled convexity of the cornea helps the rays of light entering the eye to refract on the retina and short-sightedness is eliminated. The procedure is painless and is performed on both eyes that require correction in the course of the same procedure. After PRK surgery, the surgeon places a contact lens on the eye to help the surface layer of the eye to recover. The lens will be removed at the clinic after two days. On the first days after the surgery, the patient can experience some soreness of the eyes, the feeling of a foreign object in the eyes and tear flow. The complaints occurring during the recovery period can be alleviated by following the scheme of administering the medicines prescribed by an ophthalmologist.

What are possible alternatives?

Other methods of eye surgery almost identical to PRK include Epi-K, Epi-LASIK and LASIK. In case of these methods, the layer of corneal epithelium, which was removed before the laser was used is repositioned on the cornea, which will nevertheless be replaced with new tissue within a few days. Some studies have found that soreness of the eye is somewhat less intense in case of these methods when compared to post-PRK. There are no proven differences in the quality of vision after surgery. The visual acuity required for the patient’s daily life and the aim of the surgery are usually achieved a week after the procedure, but it takes up to six months for the complete stabilisation of refraction in case of using PRK and visual acuity may fluctuate during this period.

Important information

During the pre-surgery examination, the ophthalmologist will explain you thoroughly the advantages of choosing PRK laser surgery instead of other methods of refractive surgery based on the individual peculiarities of your eye.

The operations are performed by surgeon Dr Kai Noor and Dr Inger Heleen Viikna.