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PRK Specialist

Stephen Khachikian, MD -  - Ophthalmologist

Stephen Khachikian, MD

Ophthalmologist located in Rapid City, SD

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a refractive surgery that can greatly reduce or eliminate your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you need vision correction but you’re not a good candidate for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), the expert team at Stephen Khachikian, MD, in Rapid City, South Dakota, is here to help. To learn more about PRK and how it can give you a big vision boost, call the office or click the online scheduler now.


How are LASIK and PRK different?

In LASIK, Dr. Khachikian makes a small incision in your top corneal layer to create a flap, which he moves aside to use a laser to reshape your cornea. In PRK, Dr. Khachikian doesn’t make a corneal flap. Instead, he removes the top layer of corneal tissue, called the epithelial tissue layer, to access the cornea and reshape it.


What kind of vision problems can PRK correct?

PRK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism very effectively. If you have presbyopia, age-related focus problems that cause fuzzy close-up vision, you may still need to use reading glasses after PRK.

But, in some cases, Dr. Khachikian may recommend a corneal implant like KAMRA® to correct presbyopia at the same time you have your PRK surgery. Another option, monovision PRK, can work well for multiple vision problems because Dr. Khachikian optimizes each eye for a different distance.


What is the PRK surgery process like?

After Dr. Khachikian uses anesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes, he removes the epithelium. You'll notice dimming or blurriness with the epithelium gone. Then, Dr. Khachikian uses a computer-controlled laser to reshape your cornea with pinpoint accuracy. It's a painless process that only takes minutes per eye.

Finally, Dr. Khachikian places a contact lens over your cornea. The contact lens serves as a kind of bandage, protecting your eye as it heals.


How long does it take to recover after PRK surgery?

Expect a longer recovery period than you’d have with LASIK. PRK recovery generally takes a maximum of 4-5 days. Immediately after your PRK surgery and for a few days afterward, you may have some mild-to-moderate pain. Dr. Khachikian will recommend medication to manage the pain effectively.

At your one-week appointment after PRK, Dr. Khachikian will remove the contact. By that time, your epithelium is largely regenerated. It’s very important to protect your eyes by always wearing sunglasses when you’re outdoors. Without eye protection, you could develop corneal scarring after PRK.


How will my vision improve following PRK surgery?

You can expect excellent vision correction. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of PRK patients enjoy 20/40 or better vision following their surgery.

To learn more about how PRK can improve your vision, click the online scheduler or call the office of Stephen Khachikian, MD, to book your PRK consultation today.