Woman during an eye exam


The Eye Institute has been performing PRK for over two decades.

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser procedure designed to reshape the cornea. PRK at the Eye Institute in Rapid City is performed directly to the front surface of the eye, and therefore it is sometimes called “surface ablation” or “surface treatment.” Custom laser technologies are now applied in both LASIK and PRK, allowing for more precision with lower risk to night vision.

Anyone who is a candidate for LASIK could potentially have PRK, making PRK an alternative to LASIK for those seeking vision correction surgery. Some of those who cannot have LASIK may be able to undergo PRK as it spares corneal tissue by not making a flap. This may include those with thin or slightly irregular corneas. Often people in high contact professions (military, police, martial arts, etc.) will elect to undergo photorefractive keratectomy because of the lower risks for damage to the corneal flap. The ranges for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are the same as those for LASIK.

What Are Some Benefits of PRK?

There are many benefits of PRK eye surgery, including:

The laser treatment that is applied in PRK is the same as LASIK. Therefore, the results between PRK and LASIK are similar. More time is often needed to achieve good vision with photorefractive keratectomy because of the regeneration of the epithelial layer. PRK and LASIK results are similar. Most people achieve 20/20 vision after surgery, and nearly all patients achieve 20/40 visual acuity or better. Vision improves more slowly as the epithelial cells need more time to heal with PRK than with LASIK.
Affordable: The cost of PRK eye surgery has shown to pay for itself and save you money when compared to the cost of glasses and contact lenses. For those that are interested in financing their producer we offer care credit financing to those who qualify.
Recovery: You can resume most normal activities such as driving and working within one week after your procedure. While PRK has a longer recovery than LASIK, it can have safety advantages for certain patients.

Find Out if You’re a Candidate with a free consultation!

We offer free laser vision correction consultations in Rapid City, SD and at our satellite clinic in Gillette, WY. On the day of your free consultation, you will meet with our Laser Vision Center Director, Dr. Scott Schirber and our dedicated LASIK team who will perform a variety of tests to confirm if you are a good candidate for surgery or not. We will explain your options at this time and provide you with a cost sheet so you can make the best decision for you and your lifestyle. If you have astigmatism, you are most likely to still be a candidate for LASIK.
Lasik Book ,PRK Procedure Video -unless looks better elsewhere.


Does PRK hurt?
The procedure of PRK does not hurt as your eyes are numbed during the process. However, the initial 4-6 hours of recovery is uncomfortable. Everyone has a different threshold for pain, so the intensity varies. The recovery time for PRK is different and longer than LASIK. The reason for this is for PRK we go about getting to your eye for the correction in a different way. Instead of creating the flap we remove the epithelial layer of the cornea, which needs to regenerate making the recovery a bit more uncomfortable and longer than LASIK.
When Will I Be Able to Return To Normal Activity After PRK?
In many cases, patients report that they feel fine enough to return to their daily schedules in 4-5 days! You will not be able to drive right after surgery and doctors recommend that you rest for 24 to 48 hours to give your eyes enough time to heal properly, especially if you work in an environment that can be stressful on your eyes.

Will I Still Need My Glasses?
It is unlikely that you will need glasses after PRK. The typical person age 18 to 40 will not need prescription glasses at all. After age 40, the natural lens typically starts to lose flexibility, causing the need for reading glasses to see up close. This condition is called presbyopia and it eventually happens to all people. If you are considering LASIK and hope to avoid reading glasses, ask about a procedure called monovision.

What Is The Cost?
Around $2100 per eye. We have different post-operative care packages available and a dry eye combined with the LASIK package. At your free evaluation, we will give you detailed pricing information, so you can choose what fits your needs the best. Financing is available through CareCredit, and monthly payments can be as low as $87.50 per eye a month.

What are the risks of PRK ?
The risks associated with PRK are similar to those of LASIK, with a few important distinctions. One of the main advantages of photorefractive keratectomy is that there are no risks in making a flap, as that is not performed in PRK. After PRK, the epithelial layer must regenerate. A small percentage of patients may not have perfectly clear epithelium regenerate. This is called “haze” and could limit vision compared to what you would see with spectacles or contact lenses.

With any surgical procedure, infection is a potential for complications. Proper use of antibiotic eye drops before and after surgery will help to decrease this possibility. Other risks with laser eye surgery do exist; your eye doctor will help to cover these in detail as they relate to your case.

Alternatives to PRK

Not all patients are good candidates. The Eye Institute offers the following procedures as an alternative:

  • Monovision LASIK
  • Intacs® Corneal Implants
  • Visian ICL
PRK Procedure

Our Specialists

Scott Schirber, OD

Jess Moser, OD

Solomon, Kerry. “Lasik Complications.” Dr. Kerry Solomon LASIK Complication Rates Get the Facts Comments, 5 Oct. 2017 Dupps, William. “What Is the LASIK Success Rate?” American Refractive Surgery Council, 23 Oct. 2017

PRK Procedure Video

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