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The so-called photorefractive keratectomy, known by the abbreviation PRK, is the original treatment method in the field of laser eye surgery. In PRK, tissue is removed from the surface of the cornea with the help of a laser. This corrects astigmatism, as well as hyperopia or myopia. This method has been used since the 1980s, but has been replaced by other methods in many cases. PRK was the first effective method for correcting vision defects with laser treatment, thereby making glasses and contact lenses unnecessary for the patient at best. In principle, PRK is the precursor to the more commonly used LASEK treatment today.
The PRK method is not suitable if:
- The cornea is too thin
- Chronic progressive corneal diseases are present
- Eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts are present
- Diseases such as collagen or autoimmune diseases are present
- Wound healing disorders are present
- The patient is pregnant
The PRK method has some disadvantages. These have been ironed out in newer treatments, such as LASIK or LASEK. The offspring from the mother of eye laser treatments is thus very powerful, extremely effective and much gentler than PRK. In the newer methods, a visual defect is also operable in a significantly higher dioptric range than in the original variant.
Despite the advancements in the field of laser vision, the PRK procedure is still used today. In addition to its disadvantages, it also offers some advantages over the more modern methods and may therefore be the better option for some patients. Normally, the results after PRK treatment are not worse than after the LASEK or LASIK procedures. Thus, PRK can prevent the risk of a flap complication, but a temporary clouding of the cornea occurs slightly more frequently.