What Are the Long Term Side Effects of a PRK Eye Operation?

Doctor Answers 3

The Long Term Side Effects of PRK

I feel I can address this question very well, since I had PRK on both of my eyes in 1994! My prescription was about a -5.00, so on the moderate scale of things, though the laser systems in place at that time were pretty rudimentary compared to today. I can say nothing but positive things about my PRK surgical experience, as well as my long term results. I have had no regression of effect of PRK, though we did see that in a small group of patients with the early lasers. Regression using the modern laser systems we have today is hardly ever a problem. I have a little bit of night time glare(also described as halos or starbursts), but that has nothing to do with the PRK procedure itself, and more to do with the fact that the early lasers did not treat as wide a diameter of the cornea as today's lasers do. We hear very few complaints about glare today. My healing process was swift and I feel I reached 20/20 within about the first 7-10 days. To put it in a worldly way, I had PRK on a Thursday at 5PM, I rested a good bit over the weekend, and performed a whole day of cataract surgery on Monday! I still perform a good number of PRK procedures, although many patients choose Lasik because the recovery is a little faster. Clinically, I have found both PRK and Lasik to give equal visual results, though the final visual result takes a little longer with PRK.

Baltimore Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Long Term Side Effects of PRK

We have been performing PRK for 25 years, so there is a wealth of long-term follow-up information based on actual patients.  PRK does not leave a flap and because of that the long term side effects are very few. 


The major long term risk is that you will regress and become myopic again.  This happens in 2-5% of patients. Patients seldom regress all the way to their previous prescription, but some do require a touch up.  Some patients experience an increase in dry eyes, although much less commonly than with LASIK.

Michael K. Tracy, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

PRK is great even over the long term

The first laser procedures done were PRK and even those early patients are doing well today.  The risk from PRK is lower than with LASIK for a variety of reasons including no potential flap problems and less intrusion in to the eye with the laser decreasing the chance for long-term ectasia.

Mark Golden, MD
Chicago Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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