Precision PRK Eye Surgery in Boise -
A LASIK Alternative


Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), like LASIK, has helped millions of people see clearly without glasses or contact lenses. PRK was the first laser refractive procedure performed in the United States and the first to gain final FDA approval. While LASIK is more commonly performed than PRK today, PRK still represents a great option for patients who may not be ideal LASIK candidates due to thin or irregularly shaped corneas.

How does PRK differ from LASIK

During LASIK, the first step is the creation of a thin flap of corneal tissue with a femtosecond laser in the modern blade-free LASIK. That flap is then carefully folded back so that the excimer laser can reshape the central layer of the cornea, known as the stroma, correcting the patient’s refractive error. The flap is then folded back into place. PRK is similar to LASIK in that an excimer laser is used to reshape the stroma. The primary difference between LASIK and PRK is that in PRK, there is no flap created.

Who is Eligible?

The ideal candidate for wavefront or topography-guided LASIK has had a stable refractive prescription for at least a year and is ready to eliminate their dependency on glasses and/or contacts. Factors that can affect candidacy are the degree of the refractive error as well as the thickness and shape of the cornea.

LASIK may not be right for you if you have the following:

  • Thin corneas
  • Large pupils
  • Corneal scarring
  • Pregnancy or nursing
  • An eye condition such as cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy
  • A medical condition such as uncontrolled diabetes or a condition that compromises the immune system It is important to discuss your medical history and concerns during your free consultation. Our experienced surgeons will be able to recommend a procedure that meets your vision correction needs.

Treatment process


Removal of surface cells

The surgeon administers numbing drops and the surface cells of the cornea, the epithelium, are removed.


Treatment Begins

The surgeon then applies the excimer laser to reshape the cornea, thereby correcting the refractive error. Intermountain Eye Center uses the Wavelight EX500™ excimer laser, the newest, fastest, most precise vision correction laser in the United States for all LASIK and PRK procedures.


After your PRK procedure

After the excimer laser treatment, the surgeon places a clear, soft contact lens, called a bandage contact lens, on the eye. These special bandage contact lenses do not contain any prescription correction, but simply protect the eye and keep the patient comfortable while the epithelial cells grow back.

After your PRK procedure

The epithelium regenerates in approximately 3 to 5 days; the bandage contact lens is typically removed by the doctor at a postoperative visit approximately five days after PRK. LASIK and PRK both have similarly excellent long-term results. For the patient, the primary differences between PRK and LASIK have to do with recovery time and comfort. The great majority of LASIK patients report little or no discomfort and are able to return to most normal activities, including driving, as quickly as the day after surgery.
Recovery from PRK surgery is a little longer. For the first few days, while the corneal epithelium regenerates, PRK patients usually report hazy vision, some soreness, and light sensitivity. This typically clears up after the first few days, and most PRK patients are able to drive and return to work four or five days after surgery. Vision continues to improve over the course of the first few weeks after surgery, and by approximately 3 months, vision is similar between PRK and LASIK patients. One technique doesn’t give better vision than the other.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. It is one of the safest procedures and has the highest satisfaction rate of any surgery. PRK is safer than wearing contact lenses. Long term contact lens wear increases your risk for vision loss from infection.

No. You will not have pain or discomfort during the procedure. There can be some discomfort during the first few days after the procedure, but with appropriate eye drops and medication, very few patients have significant discomfort.
The procedure usually takes 10 minutes. The laser only takes seconds to correct your vision based on your glasses prescription.

The laser is designed to track your eye and head movements. The laser moves with you. If your eye moves too much the laser will temporarily stop and restart where it left off when your eye is back in the correct position.

PRK is an excellent procedure for the right person. A number of factors are used to determine whether you are a candidate for PRK including refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia), thickness and shape of the corneal tissue, and a number of ophthalmic and general health conditions. Many of the eye tests and measurements needed to determine PRK candidacy are beyond the scope of a routine eye exam, and require interpretation by a doctor specialized in PRK surgery. We provide a free PRK screening to help determine if you are a good PRK candidate. Some patients who are not candidates for LASIK are candidates for PRK.

Your PRK investment is $2500 per eye, or $5000 for both eyes regardless of whether or not you have a high prescription, astigmatism, or need a topography guided treatment. We are the only Idaho practice to publish our prices. Invest in yourself and own your vision instead of renting it from the contact lens and eye glass industry. HSA and FSA accounts can be used to pay for PRK. Financing is also available.