Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a procedure in which the surface of the cornea is reshaped using an excimer laser. This process removes only 5-10% of the thickness of the cornea for mild to moderate myopia - about the thickness of 1 to 3 human hairs.
Anesthetic drops are applied to the patient's eye to numb it and prevent discomfort during the PRK procedure and a device is placed to hold the lids apart, eliminating any concern about blinking. The eye surgeon then gently removes the surface corneal cells (epithelium) and proceeds with the laser aspect of the procedure.
The laser, being computer driven for accuracy and precision, is programmed based on the patient's refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism). The laser is used for less than one minute for most patients. Once the PRK surgery is completed the doctor places a temporary contact lens which is used a bandage on the eye for improved comfort.