PRK in Los Angeles, CA

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what is PRK?

Our ophthalmologists empathize with patients when they find out they aren't eligible for LASIK. That's why we provide multiple types of laser refractive error correction, like PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), at our office in Encino. PRK was the original version of laser vision correction and has offered life-changing sight to millions of men and women across the globe. For around 5 years, the procedure was safely and effectively performed until the advancements of LASIK methods. Fortunately, ophthalmologists still perform PRK surgery all the time, primarily for patients who don't have thick enough corneal tissue to receive LASIK. We perform PRK to resolve or improve refractive errors, such as myopia and hyperopia; however, PRK is performed somewhat differently and requires a longer healing process. Best of all, PRK provides results that compare to or even outdo those of other laser vision correction procedures. Reach out to our team at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley for a comprehensive assessment if you think you might be a good candidate for PRK. Both of our locations in Encino or West Hills can provide additional information about this surgery.

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What are the benefits of PRK?

PRK offers many advantages to our Los Angeles, CA patients looking to receive corrective vision treatment, such as:

  • Fewer qualifiers than other competing procedures
  • Brief recovery time that leaves patients able to return to everyday life within days
  • Restorative process that removes reliance on other vision correctors, such as glasses and contacts
  • Long-lasting results that provide vision improvements for years to come

am i a candidate for prk?

For the most part, PRK is reserved for people who want to receive laser refractive surgery but don't have thick enough corneal tissue for LASIK. Some patients also have slightly irregular corneas that make them poor candidates for LASIK.  Also, PRK could be more practical for individuals with specific ocular diseases. PRK is a better choice for people who might incur damage to the eye because of unsafe job environments or a highly active lifestyle. A common source of confustion about PRK is that sometimes patients incorrectly believe it's an older or different procedure compared to LASIK.  PRK utilizes the exact same VISX Star laser to treat the eye as does LASIK.  The only difference between the procedures is that LASIK involves creating a flap whereas no flap is created during PRK.  Patients must be at least 18 years old to ensure the maturity of their eyes. Additionally, their vision must not change for at least a year. To determine if PRK is a good treatment for you, we need to complete a thorough eye evaluation and discuss any past or current medical conditions.

how does prk work?

Usually, PRK procedures are completed in about 10 minutes. Before getting started, we will completely numb the eye with no-sting eye drops to ensure a painless experience. Next, a device is placed into the eye to stop it from blinking. The PRK technique is just like LASIK and LASEK for the first steps. The primary difference in the PRK technique is that no corneal flap is required. Rather, the thinnest, outermost layer (the epithelium) of the eye is fully taken off and disposed of, which lets us recontour the cornea beneath. Afterward, patients need to wear a specialized bandage contact lens to shelter the eye while the epithelial tissue grows back. The epithelium usually regrows in 1 – 2 weeks, meaning the overall recovery period lasts a bit longer compared to other laser refractive surgery techniques.


Following any laser vision correction surgery, like LASIK or PRK, we require our patients to come back to Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley for one or more follow-ups. The first appointment is often as soon as the following day. These appointments are crucial so that we can keep an eye on a patient's healing process, look for any unanticipated reactions, and help take care of any possible discomfort. Relative to other laser refractive techniques, PRK does have a lengthier recovery process and a bit more discomfort, including photophobia (light sensitivity), grittiness sensations in the eye, and extreme dry eye. The majority of patients need to use their protective healing contacts for about three weeks. Nonetheless, when the eyes have completely recovered, the acuity results will be as good as or better compared to other laser vision correction. Typically, patients can return to their jobs and driving within 7 – 10 days and experience their full vision improvement within 1 – 3 months.


How do I know if there's a problem with my cornea?

Corneal problems can be a result of injury or abnormal development. Symptoms that may require medical attention include blurry vision, eye pain, light sensitivity, and halos around lights. The specialists at OAV recommend regular check-ups to monitor for corneal issues — so we can provide treatment options as early as possible.

How can I prepare for PKP?

There is no special preparation required for PKP surgery. However, it is important to inform our team about any health conditions that could interfere with your recovery. Additionally, remember to take any medications as prescribed by our team. We can inform you of what to expect in terms of your surgery and postoperative care.

Why choose us for PKP?

OAV has the experience and expertise to provide you with the best possible care. We understand that every patient is unique, and we work with you to get to know you better and understand your concerns before recommending a treatment plan tailored specifically for you. Our staff can help you achieve the best outcomes in Los Angeles, CA.

Is PRK better than LASIK vision correction?

Not necessarily. Some patients are simply better candidates for some procedures than others. Our eye care team will perform an assessment and determine which procedure is best suited for your eyes. We take into account factors like your current prescription, corneal thickness, and whether you have any eye conditions before making the right decision moving forward.

How long do the results of PRK last?

The results of PRK are long-lasting. As we mentioned, this procedure is typically only performed to correct mild refractive errors like nearsightedness or farsightedness. It may not prevent future vision changes or eye conditions. Our staff can provide more details about what to expect after surgery. The goal of PRK is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses after surgery for as long as possible.

Can PRK correct astigmatism?

In some cases, PRK can correct astigmatism. An eye care practitioner can determine if you are a suitable candidate for PRK and diagnose any other issues with your vision during an evaluation in Los Angeles, CA. If it is determined that PRK can help improve your astigmatism, we will discuss your next steps in terms of surgery.

get crisper, clearer vision with prk

Because it was the initial approach to laser refractive surgery, PRK has been helping patients to gain their sharpest vision for almost 25 years. For people who have been informed they weren't ideal candidates for LASIK, PRK might be the best solution. Despite the longer recovery period with PRK, the end result between LASIK and PRK are identical.  At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley, our experienced team has proudly delivered 20/20 vision to thousands of San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA patients. Visit us to schedule a consultation so our ophthalmologists can determine if PRK is the most effective solution for you.


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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.