Is There an Alternative to LASIK?

Are you tired of dealing with contact lenses and glasses to correct your vision? If so, it may be time to look into other options to help you see clearly. Many people find relief from poor vision through corrective eye surgery. Although the most popular of these surgeries is LASIK, LASIK isn’t the perfect surgery for everyone. One alternative to LASIK is called Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK for short. In this blog, we’ll outline what PRK is, how it works, who can undergo PRK surgery, and how to prepare for your PRK procedure.

What is PRK?

PRK is short for Photorefractive Keratectomy. Unlike LASIK, this procedure aims to reshape the surface layers of the eye, rather than the deeper tissue. Although PRK and LASIK aren’t exactly the same, they both aim to achieve the same result: to allow light to enter the eye and focus properly on the retina in the back of the eye, resulting in more clear vision. PRK is a suitable choice for those suffering from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (a misshapen cornea).

How does it work?alternative-to-LASIK

A PRK procedure works around the outer layer of the eye. The exact procedure is as follows:

  • Your eye is numbed using special eye drops.
  • The doctor gently removes the  protective surface layer of the eye. You will feel some pressure, but minimal discomfort.
  • You will be asked to look at a target light while the laser reshapes the cornea, usually in less than a minute.
  • The doctor will apply temporary contact lenses which function as a “bandage” to protect your eyes and to prevent discomfort.

What is the recovery time for a PRK procedure?

alternative-to-LASIKThe recovery time for PRK is slightly longer than LASIK because the outer layer of your eye needs time to heal. The average recovery time is about three to five days, during which your doctor will prescribe eye drops to prevent infection and keep eyes from becoming too dry.  

Who is the best candidate for PRK?alternative-to-LASIK

PRK is great for treating low to moderate levels of myopia or hyperopia (nearsightedness and farsightedness) with and without astigmatism. It’s a great alternative to LASIK, especially for people with thinner corneas and for individuals who may have certain corneal irregularities. Prime candidates for PRK are at least 18 years old and have stable vision. PRK is not for people who are pregnant or nursing, have glaucoma, or any medical conditions that may interfere with the healing process. The best way to determine if PRK is a good fit for you is to set up a consultation with an eye surgery specialist.
Laser eye surgery is a popular and effective way to correct common vision problems. For those few who aren’t perfect candidates for LASIK, PRK is an especially convenient alternative. Thanks to PRK, you have the power to improve your vision!



At Williamson Eye Institute, we are committed to preserving and protecting our patients’ eye health throughout their lives. To find out more, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.