PRK, which is short for Photorefractive Keratectomy, is one of the first refractive surgeries that helps eliminate moderate forms of myopia, hyeropia and astigmatism. A surgeon performing the PRK surgery uses an excimer laser to remove the thin outer corneal tissue to reshape the eyeball. This surgery enables patients to eliminate the use of prescription glasses or contact lenses.

People opt for this surgery for cosmetic reasons, ability to play sports, or for specific jobs like working for the army, police or fire department. The surgery is performed in patients older than 18 years. Although it may be more effective, PRK is less popular than LASIK because LASIK is pain free.

After a careful eye examination and assessment of medical history regarding diseases or allergies, the doctor will analyze the suitability of this type of surgery for the patient. People with diabetes, glaucoma, autoimmune diseases or pregnant women will be advised against undergoing PRK surgery.

After the assessment, if a candidate is considered suitable for the surgery, preparations for the surgery will begin. The surgery takes about 10 minutes .The surgeon may request a corneal topography to come up with an appropriate treatment plan. A sedative in the form of Valium and/or anesthetic drops will be used to numb the pain during the procedure.

The surgeon will use a speculum to prevent movement of the eyelid and will program the laser settings suitably for the refractive error. The surgeon will begin the process by removing the epithelium on the cornea and then he will begin reshaping the eye and this takes about less than a minute. The duration of this depends on the intensity of the refractive error. After the completion of the process the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to help the healing process and prevent any infection. With the diligent use of medicines and regular follow-ups, the patient may enable good recovery however the healing process is long as compared to LASIK. Any kind of cosmetics creams, lotions and strenuous physical activity need to be avoided during the recovery process.

Painkillers may be necessary for easing the pain and vision fluctuations and haze can be experienced by patients for as long as six months after surgery. Some patients may experience glares, vision distortion and fluctuation and long-term haze as side effects. Most patients achieve 20/40 vision and in some cases if eye glasses are necessary they are of less power.