PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is the first form of laser vision correction that was available.  PRK uses the same excimer laser as LASIK to reshape the cornea and treat near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism.  Since no flap is generated, the procedure is carried out at a more superficial level making it safer for certain patients. With improvements in the modern PRK procedure, recovery times have improved and more people are able to undergo PRK. If you have been told you are not a candidate for LASIK because of irregular or thin corneas, if you’re concerned about the LASIK flap, if you’ve had previous LASIK or RK surgery,  or if you suffer from severe dry eyes, you may benefit from the PRK procedure.

This page can help you understand the PRK procedure, but the only way to know if it’s right for you is to talk to an eye surgeon in person. Dr. Armin Vishteh offers complimentary evaluations to determine if you are a candidate for PRK or LASIK. To schedule your consultation, please call 888-514-2020 or email Armin Vishteh, MD today.

Understanding PRK

PRK is an advanced laser vision correction procedure. It is sometimes called advanced surface ablation (ASA) or just surface ablation (SA) because the material that is removed (ablated) comes directly from the surface of the cornea. In LASIK, the ablation takes place deeper in the cornea.  Staying closer to surface can be advantageous in several scenarios.

One advantage of ablating on the surface of the eye is that it does not require the creation of a flap, so it can be performed on people with thin or irregular corneas. It also does not interfere with the nerves that sense dryness and can therefore be associated with a lesser chance of inducing dryness.

In patients who have had previous corneal surgery such as LASIK or Radial Keratotomy, PRK is often the preferred procedure due to its safety. Also in patients who are involved in contact sports such as boxing or martial arts, PRK may be preferred since it does not involve any potential trauma to the flap.


LASIK and PRK use the same laser technology, so the quality of results from LASIK and PRK are equivalent. But there are some factors that distinguish the two procedures. LASIK’s benefits include:

  • Immediate results
  • Low discomfort

On the other hand, PRK results may take a week to be visible, and many patients report the discomfort after PRK can be significant. However, due to improvements in laser technology and medications used during and after surgery, most PRK patients are able to resume their activities at a much quicker rate than before.

It’s important to talk to your eye surgeon about the two procedures and decide which one is right for you.

Complimentary Consultation

Dr. Armin Vishteh offers complimentary consultations that include a thorough eye exam. During this exam, Dr. Vishteh will be able to evaluate your eyes and make recommendations about the best procedure for you.

Please contact Armin Vishteh, MD today for a free consultation at our offices in: Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, Santa Monica.

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