Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) uses a laser to sculpt the surface of the cornea. The procedure is effective in treating low to moderate levels of myopia or hyperopia with or without astigmatism. During the PRK procedure, the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelium, is removed. A cool laser beam is applied to the cornea and a soft contact lens is applied to serve as a bandage during the healing process.
This contact lens will be removed within five to seven days of the procedure. Recovery is usually two to three weeks, during which the patient may have mild to marked discomfort and blurry vision. Most of the vision improvement is seen in the first month, but there is still gradual improvement over the year after the initial procedure. Results take longer to achieve with PRK than LASIK because it takes longer for the epithelium to be restored.