PRK: Laser Vision Correction

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) was the first kind of laser eye surgery used for vision correction and is actually the predecessor to the popular LASIK procedure.

Like the other types of laser eye surgery, PRK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser. The computer-controlled, highly specialized laser, which operates in the ultraviolet wavelength, produces a cool beam to vaporize and remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the eye surface in an exact pattern.

PRK offers some distinct benefits. Namely, because PRK surgery does NOT create a corneal “flap” (containing both epithelial and deeper stromal tissues) the entire thickness of the underlying stroma is available for treatment.  If a patient’s cornea is too thin, or they have previously undergone LASIK and therefore have a thinner residual cornea then PRK is of particular benefit. In addition, with PRK there are no flap complication risks and the possibility of removing too much of the cornea with the excimer laser is reduced.

While results of PRK surgery are comparable to LASIK outcomes, initial PRK recovery is slower. It takes a few days for new epithelial cells to regenerate and cover the surface of the eye.

What to expect from a PRK procedure.



Of primary importance is choosing an eye surgeon like Dr. Carlson, who is very experienced in PRK surgery. You will then come in for a thorough eye exam to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for PRK. Dr. Carlson will evaluate:

  • The size of your pupils.
  • The moisture of your eyes (preventative for post surgery dry eye).
  • Your corneal curvature (using a mapping device to precisely measure the front surface contours of your eye)
  • Your Corneal thickness



PRK is an ambulatory procedure done right next door to Claris at the world renowned Philips Eye Institute. You will likely have a mild sedative and be awake during the very short procedure.

  • Numbing eye drops are applied and an eye speculum is used to keep eyes open. Dr. Carlson then directs the excimer laser over your eye, which is programmed to your exact prescription.
  • While you look at a target the laser sends pulses of light to your cornea.
  • The laser removes tissue and reshapes the cornea.
  • Dr. Carlson covers the treated cornea with a bandage contact lens.
  • Most patients have the procedure done on both eyes the same day.



You will be prescribed topical antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and pain medications. You will need to attend frequent follow-up appointments over the next few weeks to monitor the healing process. It will take a little time as your eyesight improves and your vision stabilizes.


Results in the long term:

Most patients achieve 20/20 vision after PRK, and nearly all achieve 20/40 visual acuity or better.

As with all carefully monitored procedures done here at Claris Eye Care & Surgery, following the guidance and judgment of a seasoned and superior eye surgeon like Dr. Carlson is very important.

If you have any questions about PRK and would like to schedule an appointment to come in and see Dr. Carlson call 612.755.8009 or email


For your eyes, the choice is clear.

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