illustration of eyeball before and after PRK

PRK Eye Surgery

Wearing glasses or contacts can be a hassle, but if you have thin corneas, you may not qualify for LASIK.

For the right candidates, PRK eye surgery may be a better way to reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses.

Why should I consider PRK?

illustration of eyeball before and after PRK

Fast, Safe, and Effective Treatment

A Quick Outpatient Procedure

PRK can usually be completed in about 15 minutes, and your designated driver can take you home shortly after your procedure.

Low Risk of Complications

Since PRK does not involve creating a flap in the cornea, there is no risk of flap complications. PRK patients with active jobs or lifestyles do not have to worry about the flap dislodging and causing issues.

Good for Thin or Thick Corneas

To qualify for LASIK, your cornea must be thick enough to accommodate the flap. However, because PRK does not involve creating a tissue flap, it can provide an effective alternative.

PRK Eye Surgery Can Improve Your Quality of Life

*According to a study published in Cureus

Studies also show that 94 percent of PRK patients experience improved vision as long as 12 years after surgery. 

before and after PRKbefore and after PRK

Age, Health, and Lifestyle Determine Your Eligibility


PRK is typically only recommended to patients who are at least 18 years old since the eyes can continue developing into early adulthood.

Ocular Health

The best candidates are free of issues such as dry eyes and keratoconus, have not suffered eye trauma in the past year, and have had a stable glasses prescription for at least a year.

Overall Health

Some autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis may disqualify you from PRK, as it can trigger corneal deterioration and other complications.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not undergo PRK until at least three months after breastfeeding has ended because fluctuating hormone levels can affect your vision.

But Am I Going To Pay More than LASIK Patients?

PRK usually costs about the same as LASIK, which cost an average of $2,088 per eye in 2017. Therefore, the real deciding factor comes down to the characteristics of your eyes, your lifestyle, and your doctor's recommendation.
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Fifteen Minutes to Clearer Vision

On the day of your PRK procedure, eat a light meal, take all prescription medication, and remove any eye makeup. PRK eye surgery takes 15 minutes at most for both eyes. 

Before beginning, your doctor will apply numbing eye drops.

Your doctor will remove the epithelium (the outermost layer of your cornea). 

Using a highly precise femtosecond laser, your doctor will reshape your cornea.

Your doctor will apply a bandage contact lens to protect your eye.

You will likely attend a follow-up visit the day after your procedure.

Five to seven days after PRK, you will return to your doctor’s office to have the contacts removed.

What Will My Vision Be Like after PRK?

It can take up to six months for your vision to fully stabilize. Once you have healed, you can expect a significantly reduced need for corrective eyewear. Many patients find that they don't need glasses or contacts at all. However, it is important to remember that PRK does not stop the aging process or related changes in vision. Presbyopia, for example, may cause you to eventually need a touch-up treatment or to begin wearing reading glasses.

You'll Be Driving Again in One to Three Weeks

PRK recovery takes longer than LASIK recovery due to the amount of tissue removed during surgery. Immediately after surgery, you should have someone drive you home. Plan to rest for the remainder of the day. It will take a few days for the epithelial cells to regenerate, and your vision will be blurry during this time.

You will receive antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection during initial recovery. You will also receive prescription meds for pain management. Most patients can safely drive within one to three weeks. It may take up to six months for your vision to fully stabilize.

The average cost of PRK is about $1,800 per eye. Unfortunately, since laser eye surgery is an elective treatment for vision correction, it is usually not covered by insurance. However, you may have partial coverage which can slightly reduce your cost.

Doctor completing paperwork

Certain Factors Can Increase the Cost of PRK

Type of Vision Condition

If you suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness with astigmatism, the cost of your PRK surgery will usually be higher.

Degree of Refractive Error

Correcting a higher degree of refractive error usually requires a more complex approach. This can increase the cost of your procedure.


Traditional PRK is typically less expensive than custom PRK. This is because the customized technique requires the use of wavefront technology.


A local anesthetic will be applied to the eye to numb the treatment area. However, if you feel anxious, sedation can also be provided at an additional cost.

Yes, and You May Even Consider Medical Tourism for Your PRK Surgery

Medical tourism has become increasingly popular for all types of procedures in recent years. Some patients are turning their vacations into an opportunity to undergo laser eye surgery at a fraction of the cost compared to treatment in the U.S. Countries in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and even Europe have become popular medical tourism destinations for PRK and LASIK surgery. In some places, you can even treat both eyes for the price of one.

Lower procedure cost
More convenient
Consistent medical care
Comfort of friends and family
Follow-up care with a single doctor

You Have Options to Correct Your Vision

While many patients have successfully improved their vision with PRK, it is not ideal for everyone. LASIK is a popular surgical alternative, but patients who are nervous about surgery can also consider orthokeratology or corrective eyewear. During a consultation, your doctor can help guide you to the best solution.

Cost Breakdowns

Treatment Estimated Cost
PRK $1,000-$2,500 per eye
LASIK $1,000-$3,000
Glasses $196 for frames and lenses
Contacts $280-$400 per year
Ortho-k $1,000-$2,000

It is important to note that while non-surgical options may seem like significant cost savings, glasses, contacts, and ortho-k have on-going expenses such as refilling prescriptions, exams, and replacing lenses that add up over a lifetime.

PRK Requires the Longest Recovery

LASIK Surgery

Most patients can return to work the very next day after LASIK eye surgery. However, it can take several days or more for PRK patients to fully recover.

Ortho-K, Glasses & Contacts

Since none of these treatment options permanently modify the eye in any way, you can go about your regular daily activities with no downtime whatsoever.

Take the First Step Today

If you are tired of the daily hassles of contacts or glasses, you owe it to yourself to explore the possibility of refractive surgery. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today to learn more.

Winks Eye Designs & Optometry's office

Wink Optometry & Eyewear

At Wink Optometry & Eyewear, we offer a wide range of services. Our optometrists, Drs. Gordon G. Wong and Wildon C. Wong, have over 45 years of combined experience. They also belong to several respected organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 755-9465 today.

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