Everything You Need to Know About PRK Surgery San Antonio

Are you considering vision correction surgery in San Antonio? Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) might be the best solution for you. As an alternative to LASIK surgery, PRK has helped thousands of patients achieve clear vision. Let’s explore the world of PRK surgery, discover if it’s the right choice for your eyes, AND answer the real question.... are patients still picking photorefractive keratectomy as a laser refractive surgery solution?

Key Takeaways

  • PRK eye surgery historically has been the main alternative to LASIK offering a safe vision correction. Oftentimes, it is picked as the vision correction solution for athletes, law enforcement, or those with thinner corneas.

  • New types of PRK are available and may be better for certain eyes.

  • Patients have newer PRK alternatives and this has affected the volume of PRK

Understanding PRK Surgery

PRK Surgery

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a type of laser surgery that offers laser vision correction for patients in San Antonio. This solution aims to improve vision and reduce or eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. PRK only involves one laser, an excimer laser, and is used to reshape the cornea. PRK is mainly used to treat nearsightedness or correct myopia and astigmatism. PRK is particularly beneficial for patients with thin corneas or other corneal irregularities, as it offers highly precise correction of refractive error, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

WHY IS PRK better for thin corneas?

LASIK San Antonio has extensive experience in with all three types of PRK surgery which employs wavefront or topo-guided technology to provide a more personalized treatment plan. We will come back to discuss more about these three types in just a second.

First, let's provide a comprehensive understanding of the PRK procedure, its benefits, and how it stands in comparison to other vision correction methods like LASIK surgery.

The PRK Procedure Explained

The PRK procedure, also known as PRK laser eye surgery, includes the following steps:

  • Instill numbing or anesthetic drops to numb the patient’s eyes and placement of the eyelid holder to keep the eyes open.

  • Gentle debridement of the eye's surface layer of cells, known as epithelial cells, from the corneal tissue using a soft tipped instrument.

  • Use of an excimer laser to precisely reshape the surface layer to the targeted prescription, without the creation of a corneal flap as in LASIK surgery.

  • Place a bandage contact lens on the eye's surface, put some antibiotic eye drops, and then we will send you home with a prescription for more eye drops and pain medication.

Wait, did you say pain medication? Uhh.. yes. Out of all the laser vision correction procedure we do, PRK is the most uncomfortable. It is normal to experience discomfort after this procedure and again the reason why we prescribe pain medications for the early 1-3 day post operative period.

So why would patients even get PRK?

1. It's their only option. Patients with thin corneas or with a goofy-shaped cornea often can possibly have PRK as the only option for them. And sometimes, PRK actually gives them better vision then they have ever seen in their life. More on topoguided PRK soon.

2. They are living an active lifestyle and they don't want the lasik flap. This is primarily the reason we see patients coming in not wanting LASIK laser eye surgery. Often times in this case, in order to avoid the post-operative pain/discomfort and the slower healing time, we consider the EVO ICL or SMILE eye surgery.

Though the PRK procedure is usually completed within 5 minutes for both eyes, it’s noteworthy that this differs from cataract surgery, where the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced. PRK has been proven to be a quick, safe, and effective method of enhancing vision for many patients in San Antonio, with a low risk of complications. Now the last two questions are: 1. Is PRK eye surgery the best LASIK alternative for me? And 2. If PRK eye surgery is the best refractive surgery for me, what type of the PRK procedures is best for me?

Advantages of PRK Over Other Vision Correction Methods

When trying to decide which laser refractive surgery is best, one must consider the advantages of photorefractive keratectomy. The main advantage of PRK surgery is its suitability for patients with thin corneas. PRK can restore vision for individuals who may not be eligible for LASIK, providing a less complex procedure without the risk of corneal flap displacement. Additionally, PRK presents a reduced risk of corneal flap complications in high risk patients compared to other vision correction techniques, as no corneal flap is created during the procedure.

PRK vs LASIK: Comparing Laser Eye Surgeries


PRK and LASIK are both popular laser eye surgeries in San Antonio, offering vision correction for patients with various refractive errors. However, there are distinct differences between the two procedures, particularly when it comes to the recovery process. LASIK patients typically experience minimal discomfort and achieve satisfactory vision in a shorter time frame compared to PRK, which may take days, weeks, or even months for improvement. A recent study showed more patients, at the 1 month post op, with 20/20 vision with SMILE or LASIK compared to PRK. Since SMILE, LASIK, and EVO ICL have a quicker visual recovery and much less discomfort or pain, you could see why the percentage of patients who picked PRK, especially when the only two options were PRK or LASIK, is decreasing.

Types of PRK Eye Surgery

Now if you are still leaning towards PRK eye surgery, let's talk about three types. All three of these have made PRK better than the initial version. Let's discuss some of the small differences

Wavefront-Optimized PRK

The most common type of PRK surgery in San Antonio is wavefront-optimized. When PRK first came out, patients oftentimes had haloes and glare at night while driving. This has significantly improved since wavefront optimized has came out. The best way to describe this type of PRK is a laser that now smooths out the edges of the treatment.

Wavefront-Guided PRK

When wavefront-optimized came out, someone thought, instead of just smoothing out the edges, why don't we just completely correct the wavefront of the patient. A diagnostic device is able to measure the wavefront and prescription of the eye and then an excimer laser is able to treat those imperfections. The measurement here is really important and if there is dryness in the eye, it can impact both the measurement and the treatment. We typically see this type of PRK being performed around 5% of the time.

Topography Guided PRK

There are many patients who do not have a perfectly spherical cornea. The front part of the eye has a different shape to it. Topography guided aims to improve this shape, while also correcting the prescription. Out of all the types of PRK, this one requires the most work, the most calculations, but in the end, could be the most rewarding. When is it the most rewarding? The goofier the front shape of the eye is. For example, patients who have keratoconus could potentially have topography-guided PRK once they are stable or once they have had cross-linking.

Topography Guided PRK

Patient Testimonials

Often times if you ask patients for the truth about PRK, they will tell you that the first few days can be rough due to the discomfort or light sensitivity. Day 3, these patients wake up with clearer vision and their discomfort has significantly decreased. Would they do it all over again to be able to wake up and see? Of course.

One of my favorite patients only could get PRK. She wanted to be able to not deal with contacts on her safari trip. When she came in for her consult and we took her scans, we learned that she had a thinner cornea and dryness.

After discussing her scans with her, we thought PRK was the only safe procedure for her. I remember her coming back with a smile talking about how she was able to wake up, walk outside, and see elephants. That SMILE said it all. And actually speaking about SMILE, if you are wanting a quicker visual recovery with, much less discomfort, and no LASIK flap, you should consider SMILE eye surgery or EVO ICL (link to those pages).

Preparing for Your PRK Surgery

Preparing for Your PRK Surgery

To prepare for your PRK surgery in San Antonio, you will first need to schedule a consultation to verify that you are a candidate. During the consultation, we will review your medical history, your corneal tomography scans, and discuss the PRK procedure in detail, answering any questions or concerns you may have.

What to Expect During Your Consultation

During your consultation for PRK surgery, your doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye exam, including corneal mapping, to assess your candidacy for the procedure. This evaluation will help determine if PRK is the most suitable option for you and give you a better understanding of what to expect during the procedure itself.

Your doctor will also discuss your lifestyle and expectations for the outcome of the surgery. This conversation will allow you to make a more informed decision about whether PRK is the right choice for you and help set realistic expectations for the results of the procedure.

Pre-Operative Instructions

Pre-operative instructions for PRK surgery may include:

  • Discontinuing contact lens use at least three days prior to the procedure

  • We do give happy medication prior to the procedure, so we like for you to arranging for transportation on the day of the procedure

By following these instructions, you can help ensure a successful PRK surgery and minimize any potential complications as you perform PRK procedures.

Recovering from PRK Surgery: Tips and Expectations

recovery tips

Recovering from PRK surgery involves a longer healing timeline compared to LASIK, with the initial side effects typically subsiding within one week. However, it may take up to three to six months to attain the full benefits of the procedure and achieve optimal vision.

The subsequent subsections will delve into the healing timeline, post-operative care, and follow-up appointments, which are crucial for assuring the best possible outcome from your PRK surgery.

The Healing Timeline

The healing timeline for PRK surgery is highly individualized, but generally, it follows this pattern.

  • Wear a protective contact lens for the first week and put antibiotic eye drops four times

  • Experience mild burning, tearing, and sensitivity to light during the initial week after surgery. During this time, artificial tears applied at minimum four times a day will help.

  • Gradually improve vision over the course of several weeks.

Follow-Up Appointments

Post PRK surgery, there are typically 3-6 post operative appointments. At each visit, your doctor will equip you with detailed instructions on eye care, which may include the use of eye drops, wearing eye protection, and steering clear of activities that could strain your eyes. The main thing after surgery is no make up in on around the eyes for one week and no water or sweat in the eyes for one week.

Financing Your PRK Surgery in San Antonio


What is the cost of PRK Surgery in San Antonio?

The cost for PRK surgery in San Antonio is typically around $2,000-$3,000 per eye. If financed, it can be around $100 per eye per month. Many patients have said they were not even aware that financing is available. There are plans with 0% interest and other plans that have a lower monthly payment. We can discuss more about which plan you are interested in at the consult.


In conclusion, PRK surgery is an effective vision correction option for active patients, those with thin corneas, or other corneal irregularities. With expert PRK doctors, advanced technology, and personalized treatments, patients can achieve optimal results and enjoy clear vision for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PRK really better than LASIK?

Overall, PRK is a better choice than LASIK for certain individuals that do not qualify for LASIK.

While recovery time takes longer with PRK, the results are the same as with LASIK after 3 months.

Is PRK more expensive than LASIK?

PRK and LASIK eye surgery cost the same.

Is PRK surgery worth it?

PRK surgery is a quick procedure and has a high success rate of restoring vision and providing great vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

It is therefore especially worth considering for those who suffer from nearsightedness and/or astigmatism.

What is the main difference between PRK and LASIK surgery?

The main difference between PRK and LASIK surgery is that PRK involves the removal of the outer layers of the cornea, while LASIK involves creating a corneal flap.

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