PRK stands for "Photorefractive Keratectomy", a procedure involving the removal of the epithelium by gentle scraping away the corneal epithelium and reshaping the stroma using a computer-controlled excimer laser. As a natural process, the epithelium will grow back over the bare area during the next few days after the surgery .
In 1987, Dr. Theo Seiler performed the first PRK in Berlin.
With PRK, there is a possibility of corrective the refractive errors from -3 to -5.75 dioptres. Refractive errors beyond -6 dioptres might cause o ver-correction or under-correction, persistent corneal opacity and irregular astigmatism.
The treatment will take a maximum of 15 minutes and within this period; the laser will be applied for less than a minute. Usually there is a gap of about 12 weeks between the surgeries done on the first and the second eyes to make sure that there is no risk of haze, usually developed as a result of healing of epithelium and stroma, in the first eye . Epithelial and stromal wounds may take up to 24 and 72 hours respectively to heal and so the patient might feel a significant level of discomfort after the procedure for the above said number of hours.
This procedure is being carried out as an outpatient basis for the past 15+ years and is one of the most recommended procedures for majority of patients who are not eligible to get treated in LASIK. This procedure may not be suitable if the patient is pregnant or below the age of 20 or above 40-45 years at which time there is a possibility of developing cataract and certain other conditions that the consulting surgeon will be able to make a suggestion on whether this is the best choice for them or not.