PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is the same laser procedure as LASIK. It differs, however, in how the cornea is prepared for the laser treatment. With PRK, there is no creation of a flap and the surface cells are removed and the laser is applied. With LASIK, a corneal flap is created by a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser such as IntraLase®.
Today, PRK is commonly referred to as"surface ablation," meaning a laser procedure that is applied to the surface of the cornea. There are two main surface ablation techniques available which differ in the way the corneal epithelium is managed, LASEK and epi-LASIK.
In certain situations, PRK is a more suitable treatment option than LASIK.
- When the cornea is too thin for LASIK
- When a pre-existing problem is present on the cornea which can be eliminated with PRK and result in better vision than LASIK
- When there is a structural abnormality in the cornea that makes LASIK unsafe.