If you are searching for a vision correction solution, but you know you are not a LASIK candidate, there is a LASIK alternative.
For those that do not qualify for LASIK, PRK may be an option. PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a kind of refractive surgery used to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK was invented before LASIK but LASIK gained more popularity because of the quicker recovery time.
During PRK, the cornea is still reshaped using an excimer laser. This allows light to enter the eye and be properly focused onto the retina, correcting any refractive errors, and results in clear vision.
PRK involves removing the epithelium, which is the thin outer layer of the cornea. It is completely removed and disposed of. After removing the epithelium, the corneal tissue underneath is then reshaped with an excimer laser. A “bandage” soft contact lens is placed on the cornea to facilitate healing and help protect the eye. The epithelium grows back after a few days, though recovery from PRK can take several weeks. This can be more uncomfortable than recovering from LASIK.
The major benefit of PRK is that there is no flap created in the cornea, which makes PRK a good choice for patients that may have thinner corneas. Although the recovery time is longer, PRK delivers comparable results to LASIK.