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Other Vision Correction Procedures

PRK and LASEK (Advanced Surface Ablation)

PRK (photo-refractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) are both advanced surface ablation procedures used to correct vision by using the excimer laser to shape the surface of the cornea, rather than the interior. PRK was the first FDA-approved procedure changing the curvature of the cornea with the excimer laser. Safety and clinical data on the first PRK surgeries date back to 1990.

PRK and LASEK use the same excimer laser as LASIK and the same Wavefront mapping, but the procedures are performed on the surface rather than inside the cornea. With PRK, the epithelium (top skin layer) of the cornea is actually removed; with LASEK, the epithelium is moved aside and then replaced after surgery. In each case, the laser is then used on the surface of the corneal tissue only.

To assist the healing process after PRK and LASEK, a clear bandage contact lens is placed over the cornea during the 3-5 days needed for the epithelium to re-grow. Additionally, patients are normally placed on a regimen of steroid eye drops for about a month, but may occasionally have to use them for up to three months, requiring monitoring by their doctor on a weekly or monthly basis. Like LASIK, PRK and LASEK only take about five minutes per eye, and the surgery itself is painless. There is typically more discomfort during the healing process after advanced surface ablation procedures, and it takes a bit more time for the patient to see clearly, but in the end, outcomes for LASIK, PRK, and LASEK are the same.

There are some medical conditions that may make either PRK or LASEK more suitable than LASIK. LASEK, for example, is used mostly for people with thin corneas since LASIK requires more corneal tissue to be successful. PRK is often preferred for patients who may be susceptible to dry eyes since dry eyes are more often a complication of LASIK.  Dr. Oster will help you determine which procedure is best for you.


 Grand Valley LASIK & Cataract
Monument Plaza 2472 Patterson Road     Suite 11 
Grand Junction Colorado, 81505
Telephone: 970-424-5555   FAX: 970-424-5027