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Photorefractive Keratectomy

An In-Depth Guide to PRK

The number of different vision correction procedures can be overwhelming. While you may have heard of LASIK, you might not have come across the term Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK).

This article will give you a better understanding of PRK, whether it could be a solution for you, and how it compares to LASIK.

What Do I Need to Know About Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?

PRK is a type of laser eye surgery that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves removing the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, and then using a laser to reshape the cornea. The outer layer typically fully regenerates in about 4-7 days.

During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the epithelium (a thin layer of tissue that covers the external surface of your cornea) from the cornea using a brush or sometimes a laser beam. In certain situations a diluted alcohol solution may also be used.

The laser will then be used to reshape the corneal surface, following a custom map created by your eye doctor and based on your individual prescription. This procedure will correct your vision according to your personal prescription.

Once the laser reshaping is complete, the epithelium will heal and re-grow over the next several days.

The procedure has been successfully used since the late 1980s and has evolved over the years to become a safe and effective alternative to LASIK.

Unlike LASIK, PRK does not involve creating a corneal flap, making it a good option for patients with thin corneas or other corneal conditions that would make them poor candidates for LASIK.

What Happens during Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?

The PRK procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and typically takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Before the procedure, your eye surgeon will administer a local anesthetic to numb your eye. You will also be given a mild sedative to help you relax.

Once your eye surgeon has removed the epithelium, a laser is used to reshape the corneal tissue according to your prescription. A contact lens will then be placed over your eye to protect your corneal and help the eye to heal and re-grow the epithelium.

You will receive instructions about the healing process and what you should do to allow your eye to heal optimally.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) – Risks and Benefits

There are several benefits to PRK, including:

No corneal flap and flap-related complications: Unlike LASIK, PRK does not involve creating a corneal flap (making a small circular incision that allows to separate and lift the cornea for treatment). This can reduce the risk of complications such as flap displacement, irregular flaps or infection.

Safe for thin corneas: PRK is a good option for patients with thin corneas or other corneal conditions that would make them poor candidates for LASIK.

Quick healing time: Most patients experience significant improvement in their vision within the first few days after the procedure, with full recovery taking about a few weeks.

Good for high prescriptions: PRK has been shown to be effective for patients with high prescriptions, including those with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

An experienced eye surgeon like Dr. Cohen can reduce risks to a minimum.

In over 25 years, Dr. Cohen has successfully performed PRK on thousands of patients with excellent results.

This experience gives Dr. Cohen the ability to plan and execute the surgery with great precision, achieving the best outcomes.

The fact that more than 1000 doctors have entrusted their eyes to Dr. Cohen speaks for itself.

However, We Would Like to Make You Aware of Certain Risks That Can Occur on Rare Occasions:

Risk of infection: Photorefractive keratectomy is a surgical procedure, and as with all surgery, there is a risk of infection.

Glare and halos: These can be caused by haze in the cornea which may take several weeks to heal.

Dry eyes: Some patients can experience dry eyes for a period of time.

Dr. Cohen in the News & Media

Fox News

Dr. Sapna Parikh reports on the very first case of an ICL in New York performed by Dr. Ilan Cohen.

ABC 7 News

The surgeon, Dr. Ilan Cohen talks about “the unique” features of Implantable Collamer® Lens surgery as compared with LASIK.

CBS 2 News
An artificial corneal transplant is a complex surgery that is reserved for patients that have corneal blindness and are not otherwise candidates for a traditional corneal transplant.

Comparing PRK to LASIK

While both PRK and LASIK are effective options for correcting vision problems, there are some key differences between the two procedures:

Unlike LASIK, PRK does not involve creating a corneal flap. This makes PRK a good option for patients with thin corneas or other corneal conditions that would make them poor candidates for LASIK.

LASIK tends to have a faster visual recovery time and a lower risk of corneal haze. LASIK is also a better option for some patients as it does not require a lengthy healing period and does not cause the same level of post operative discomfort as PRK.

During our extensive screening examination, we will advise you on the most suitable procedure for you and your personal situation.

What other Doctors say about Dr. Cohen

Doctor Testimonial

When looking for a doctor to do my LASIK surgery, I was searching for someone with deep subject matter expertise, who is precise with a high degree of attention to detail, and who enjoyed and was enthusiastic about what they did.

Doctor Testimonial

I met Dr. Cohen through the recommendation of one of my ophthalmology friends when I was looking to get LASIK surgery. I am 20/15 in both eyes and have never had a problem. Thank you Dr. Cohen!

Doctor Testimonial

I chose Dr. Cohen for my cataract surgery with a multifocal lens implant because over the last 20 years of knowing him and referring many of my patients to him, he never made a mistake. I couldn’t be happier with my vision.

Doctor Testimonial

Dr. Ilan Cohen is one of the finest surgeons I could possibly imagine. He has done multiple surgeries, he’s handled incredibly complicated cases. He is one of the finest doctors and I am more than happy to recommend him.

Doctor Testimonial

When it comes to mine or my family’s eyes, Dr. Cohen is my number one choice. Why? Because I have seen his results, and they are far superior than most surgeons in the area. If you want the best results, it’s Dr. Cohen that you have to go to.

Doctor Testimonial

Dr. Cohen is one of the finest surgeons I know. I have seen plenty of his LASIK post op results which have been excellent. I would not hesitate to send any of my family members to him. 

Doctor Testimonial

I have known Dr. Cohen for over 10 years through his reputation and personal interaction. He is one of the best surgeons that I know. When working on a complicated case, I will call Dr. Cohen because his opinion is very important to me.

Doctor Testimonial

I have co-managed hundreds of patients with Dr. Cohen who have had all kinds of refractive surgery. Each procedure is tailored to the patient's particular eye. 

Doctor Testimonial

I have been the director of an ophthalmology surgical center for the last 30 years. I personally know over 100 eye surgeons. If a member of my family needed eye surgery, Dr. Cohen would be the one to perform it.

Doctor Testimonial

I've been an optometrist for 19 years, and I've worked with a number of different surgeons. I think Dr. Ilan Cohen has some of the best hands that I've ever seen.

Doctor Testimonial

When I think of doctor Ilan Cohen, I think of the best. Dr. Cohen and I have been involved in some of the most exciting research projects. Dr. Cohen, in my opinion is one of the best surgeons on this plant.

Patients Testimonials

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) - Post-Operative Care


Post-operative care after Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is an important aspect of ensuring a successful outcome. It is essential for patients to follow the instructions provided by their eye surgeon to minimize the risk of complications and to maximize the benefits of the procedure.

The first step in post-operative care is to rest the eyes and avoid any strenuous activities that can put stress on the eyes. This typically includes avoiding physical activities such as heavy lifting and sports for several days after the procedure.

Additionally, patients should avoid rubbing their eyes and should use artificial tears as directed by their surgeon to keep the eyes hydrated. In some cases, the surgeon may prescribe a mild pain reliever, a steroid or antibiotic drops to reduce discomfort and prevent infection.

It is important for patients to attend all follow-up appointments with their surgeon, as the surgeon will monitor the healing process and make any necessary adjustments.

Photorefractive Keratectomy

In the days and weeks following the procedure, patients may experience some discomfort, including light sensitivity, glare, and blurred vision, which is normal and should gradually improve over time. With proper post-operative care and monitoring, patients can expect to achieve the benefits of PRK, including improved vision and freedom from glasses or contacts.

In Conclusion…

Topo Guided Lasik

Both PRK and LASIK are effective options for correcting vision problems, and the best choice will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. If you’re considering refractive surgery, speak with our team at the Cohen Eye Institute about the options that are available to you.

Together, we will decide which solution is best for you.

Refractive Surgery Quiz

At Cohen eye Institute we offer a wide menu of Refractive Surgery. From Lasik to EVO- ICL. This quiz will help us help you tailor your vision to your lifestyle needs.