Laser vision correction originated in the early 1990's with PRK, and still today, PRK remains the procedure of choice for many surgeons.

corneal layers diagram

The layers of the cornea.

As is true for all flapless procedures, PRK begins with removal of the epithelium. Following anesthetic eye drops, this step is accomplished by touching the surface of the eye with a rotating brush for approximately 5-10 seconds.

Epithelial removal is typically painless, and unlike flap procedures, such as LASIK and IntraLASIK, no ring is placed on the eye, no vacuum is used, no pressure is felt and the vision doesn't grow dark. There's just 5-10 seconds with the rotating brush and the eye is ready for the laser.

Since modern laser treatments are 8mm to 9mm in diameter, an area of epithelium at least this size must be removed. Consequently, when the laser treatment is complete, there is a large bare patch on the surface of the eye that is devoid of epithelium. With PRK, this area gradually fills-in over the next three to five days, as new epithelium grows in from the periphery. In order to facilitate epithelial regeneration and minimize discomfort, a contact lens is placed over the eye.

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