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How is photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery done?

The PRK procedure takes only about 15 minutes. The epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea, is usually removed with a special brush, though a blade, alcohol or a laser can also be used.
Once the epithelium is removed, an excimer laser is used to remove a thin layer of corneal tissue. Your ophthalmologist guides the laser with a computer, and the laser beam sculpts the surface of the cornea, decreasing the steepness of curvature for nearsightedness or increasing the steepness of curvature for farsightedness. To treat astigmatism, the laser is programmed to selectively reshape specific portions of the cornea more than others. The laser flattens areas that are steeper than normal and steepens areas that are flatter than normal.
PRK corrects your refractive error and eliminates or reduces the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Because no incisions are made, the procedure does not weaken the structure of the cornea.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.