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Photorefractive Keratectomy


Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is laser surgery to correct refractive errors of the eye. Refractive errors are common eye disorders that cause blurred vision. These errors happen when there is a problem in the refraction (bending) of light in the eye. They are often caused by an abnormal shape and texture of the cornea. The cornea is the clear outer layer of your eye. PRK uses a laser to reshape your cornea or make it smoother. This helps light to focus better in the eye, which leads to clearer vision.

Lateral cut-away of the Right Eye



  • Antibiotics: These eyedrops help prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Steroid medicine: These eyedrops help decrease eye inflammation. Use as directed.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. This medicine may be eyedrops or a pill. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your eye specialist as directed:

You will need to return to have your eyes checked and the soft bandage contact lens removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Eye care:

  • Rest your eyes: Use your eye shield, eye patch, or corrective lenses as directed. Get plenty of sleep. Limit activities that strain your eyes, such as reading.
  • Ask about activity: You may need to avoid exercise and contact sports. Do not swim, sit in a hot tub, fly, or scuba dive until your healthcare provider says it is okay. These activities increase the pressure in your eyes. Ask when you can start to wear makeup.
  • Use proper lighting: This will help you see more clearly. Use lights that decrease glare in your home or workplace.
  • Wear sunglasses outside: This will help protect your eyes and decrease sensitivity to light.

Contact your eye specialist if:

  • You cannot make it to your follow-up appointment.
  • You accidently rub or touch your eye.
  • You see flashing lights.
  • Your eyes are red or drain pus.
  • You have any questions or concerns about your procedure, condition, or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You feel sudden, sharp eye pain.
  • You suddenly lose your vision.
  • Your eye problems, such as blurred vision, become worse.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.