PRK Specialist

Pacific Eye

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located on the Central Coast of California

When you’re ready to correct your vision with laser surgery, LASIK isn’t your only option as PRK laser surgery treats the same refractive errors and is more suitable for patients with thin corneas. The doctors at Pacific Eye, with offices in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, and Santa Maria, California, as well as Optical Concepts in Santa Maria, have helped many patients improve their vision by performing PRK laser eye surgery. To learn whether PRK is the best option for you, call or schedule an appointment online today.

PRK Q & A

What is PRK?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a type of laser eye surgery that effectively corrects refractive errors such as:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness): Nearby objects are clear; distance vision is blurry
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness): Nearby objects are blurry; distance vision is clear
  • Astigmatism: Vision is blurry at any distance

Refractive errors develop when the cornea doesn’t properly focus light, which has a big impact on your vision because it’s responsible for 65-75% of your eye’s focusing power.

How does PRK correct your vision?

Your cornea bends, or refracts, light so that it focuses on the lens and then the lens bends the light again, refining it so that it’s perfectly focused on your retina. While your lens can change its shape to focus, your cornea depends on its round shape to evenly bend the incoming light. Refractive errors occur when the cornea has an irregular shape.

PRK corrects the problem by using a laser to remove microscopic areas of the cornea. As the laser reshapes areas that are too flat, steep, or elongated, the cornea’s natural shape is restored and you regain improved vision.

What should I expect during PRK surgery?

Before performing laser eye surgery, your doctor at Pacific Eye checks the thickness of your cornea and maps its surface, obtaining the measurements used to program the laser and customize your surgery.

After applying anesthesia to your eye, the outer layer of your cornea known as the epithelium is removed so the laser can reach and reshape the inner corneal layer. When the procedure is finished, a temporary contact lens may be placed over your eye to help it heal.

Your vision will be blurry for three to five days. As your eye heals, your vision improves, and you should see optimal results over the next few weeks.

How does PRK differ from LASIK?

The primary difference between PRK and LASIK is the way the outer layer of the cornea is removed. During LASIK, a flap is created that stays attached to the cornea and is put back in place when the surgery is finished. By comparison, the epithelium is cut out and removed during PRK, then it regrows as your eye heals.

The PRK method removes a thinner layer of tissue compared to the LASIK flap. As a result, patients with naturally thin corneas may be able to have PRK but not LASIK surgery.

If you’re considering laser eye surgery to correct your vision, call Pacific Eye or book an appointment online at one of their six offices in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.