PRK Eye Surgery

Dr. Smith has been performing LASIK and PRK since 1998. She is certified on seven laser platforms. Currently, our instruments of choice are the Ziemer laser for the creation of the flap (when having LASIK), and the Allegretto excimer laser for the corneal shaping phase of the operation (used for both LASIK and PRK).

She has done tens of thousands of refractive procedures, many of them while in her role as past medical director for the Lasik Plus in Raleigh. Dr. Smith has had refractive surgery herself and has had the privilege of performing this life-enhancing procedure on family, friends and colleagues.

Schedule your free evaluation! 

Please contact our refractive coordinator to schedule your FREE PRK evaluation in Raleigh at 919-256-2500

PRK Introduction

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a type of refractive surgery that corrects myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.

PRK eye surgery is performed via the removal of the outer layer of the cornea (the epithelium), which then allows the cells to regenerate after the surgery. The outer layer of the cornea is a soft, rapidly regrowing layer that can completely replace itself within a few days. After removal of the epithelial cells, the excimer laser is applied to the stroma to reshape the cornea. After the reshaping is complete, a clear contact lens bandage is placed over the eyes for a few days until the outer layer of the cornea has healed.

The PRK eye procedure is distinct from Lasik eye surgery in that the epithelial surface cells are removed and have to grow back under the bandage contact lens. However, no flap is created. PRK is used when the adequacy of the corneal thickness is borderline, or when patients do not want a flap due to an occupation/hobby, like military personnel or professional fighters.

The US armed forces have varying requirements (Lasik vs PRK) for refractive surgery, but generallly the newer femtosecond laser flaps are acceptable to most. There are extensive data confirming the stability and safety of the femtosecond laser flaps from US Air Force studies in pilots that paved the way for the acceptance of this technology.


Lasik requires less down time than PRK. Activities such as driving can be resumed the very next day after Lasik. There is a permanent flap with Lasik though. Because of the flap, careful consideration should be taken if your profession or hobby might increase possible injury to the eye.

PRK has a longer healing time than Lasik, with variable vision over the approximately 4 days the contact lens is in place. During this 4 days time frame, driving is not advised. The day after the bandage contact lens is removed, the vision is notably better, However, the vision continues to fluctuate for several more weeks.

The advantage to PRK is that less corneal tissue is used, which typically allows more room for a touchup (enhancement) should one be needed in the future. There is no permanent flap involved in this eye surgery. The same visual outcome is expected with both procedures.

Complications associated with PRK

  • Dry eyes
  • Longer healing period
  • Slight discomfort
  • Glare, halos and starbursts around lights
  • Under or over correction
  • Corneal haze

* Corneal haze is now a rare problem with the use of dilute mitomycin C applied briefly at the end of the case.*

Schedule Consultation

Please call 919-256-2500 for emergencies

Dr. Smith is a member of the Refractive Surgery Alliance. This is an organization of experienced refractive surgeons dedicated to educating patients about refractive surgery. For more information visit

2406 Blue Ridge Road Ste 280
Raleigh, NC 27607

Mon - Thurs: 8am-5pm
Fri: 8am-12pm