Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) was the forerunner to LASIK. It consists of using an excimer laser to reshape the front surface of the cornea so as to correspond to the patient’s glasses or contact lens prescription, without placing this treated area under a flap. This has the advantage of being able to treat higher amounts of nearsightedness without going as deeply into the cornea. It takes longer to heal than LASIK and requires a longer course of eye drops post-operatively, but the final results are excellent.
You may have seen references to epi-LASIK online; this is essentially the same as PRK, but with an extremely thin, temporary layer of surface tissue to cover the treated zone. Its advantages and disadvantages theoretically lie somewhere between LASIK and PRK, but it is not a common procedure.
You may also assume incorrectly that PRK has something to do with RK (radial keratotomy), due to the similarity in abbreviations. However, RK is an older technique involves deep, radial incisions into the cornea.
Dr. Clark has over twenty years of PRK experience and performs PRK treatments at TLC® Laser Eye Center, in addition to LASIK.