Individuals who do not have sufficient corneal strength to undergo LASIK may opt to instead undergo Photorefractive Keratectomy (or PRK). It is similar to LASIK, except that it does not involve the creation of a flap on the cornea. Rather, the surface cells on the cornea are brushed off, and then the excimer laser is applied to reshape the cornea. Once this is done, a protective bandage contact lens is placed on the eye and left in place for five to seven days until the surface cells heal. PRK is a quicker procedure and avoids the problems involved with the creation of a flap (e.g., an incomplete flap or the long-term risk of flap displacement). The major drawback to PRK is that visual recovery takes a bit longer than it does with LASIK. Patients who have PRK, however, have just as good visual outcomes as those who have LASIK.
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