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Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), is also known as Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA). PRK was introduced in the 1980's, and was the original refractive laser surgery procedure before LASIK was developed. Similar to LASIK, PRK is a permanently changes the shape of the cornea, improving the way light focuses on the retina treating nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
PRK differs from LASIK in that there is no cutting a flap on the front of the cornea. Instead, only the outermost surface layer (epithelium) is loosened and removed. The corneal surface is then treated with the excimer laser and covered with a clear bandage contact lens. After the procedure, patients may temporarily experience irritation or foreign body sensation. Eye drops and if needed, oral medications help with these symptoms.
PRK may be preferred in certain patients with thin corneas, dry eyes, or in certain corneal conditions where making a flap is less safe. Although LASIK provides an earlier visual recovery and is more comfortable overall, studies have shown that the long term results are essentially the same. A thorough evaluation by your surgeon will help determine what the right procedure is for your eyes. Contact Honolulu Eye Clinic today to schedule a consultation to learn more about PRK and how it can improve your vision.