Photo refractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser surgery that reshapes the cornea to improve vision.

With photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), Henry Ford surgeons use advanced computer technology combined with the accuracy and precision of the excimer laser to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.


PRK surgery is similar to LASIK in that it is a common laser vision correction procedure that can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that during the PRK surgery no corneal flap is created. For this reason, PRK is often a recommended alternative to LASIK for patients with thin corneas.


What happens during PRK surgery?

During PRK surgery:

  • The epithelium – the cornea’s outermost layer – is removed in part or entirely using either diluted alcohol or a brush.
  • An excimer laser uses pulses of ultraviolet light to reshape the underlying cornea to the correct focusing power.
  • Only the cornea’s outer layers are affected, unlike LASIK, which affects the cornea’s inner layers.

Recovery and normal vision after PRK surgery

In general, PRK surgery is not painful. Some patients report feeling mild pressure or vibration during the procedure. After PRK:

  • A protective contact lens bandage is placed on the eye to make it more comfortable during the healing process.
  • It typically takes 3-5 days for the epithelium to grow back and fully heal.
  • You may feel eye discomfort for a few days, and PRK patients often take longer to reach full recovery than LASIK patients.
  • Blurred vision is common during this time.

Clarity and focus of vision will also fluctuate during the first several weeks after PRK surgery, although most patients should reach vision stabilization within three to four months post-surgery.

PRK and other refractive procedures

PRK is not right for everyone. Your Henry Ford ophthalmologist can discuss whether PRK or other forms of refractive surgery − including LASIK or refractive lens exchange − is right for you.

CareCredit Financing

In an effort to make vision surgery accessible to more people, Henry Ford offers several financing options for you and your family. This includes accepting the CareCredit® credit card, which may be used to pay for PRK, LASIK and refractive lens exchange.

Eye refractive surgery experts

Henry Ford Ophthalmology is a leader in refractive surgery, using the latest in refractive technology to correct refractive errors. Our expert surgeons will complete a thorough evaluation of your eyes and recommend the procedure we feel is safest and best for your eyes. You can also learn more about laser vision correction by reading our FAQs.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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