PRK was the first laser vision correction procedure approved by the FDA. During the procedure, the corneal epithelium, the most superficial "skin-like" layer, is removed and an excimer laser beam is used to remove corneal tissue until the desired correction is achieved.
The epithelium grows back in the next several days, resulting in a smooth corneal surface. PRK's advantages include:
- It's quick
- Does not involve any cutting of the eye
- May be preferred in cases of certain corneal abnormalities
Disadvantages include one to two days of discomfort, slower visual recovery, the chance of developing corneal haze, and the need to use medicated eyedrops for an extended time after surgery. Some patients may qualify for custom PRK.