PRK is the original laser vision correction procedure, invented & patented by Drs Steven Trokel & Francis L’Esperance 30 years ago, who are the two surgeons who certified Dr. Chynn on their respective lasers (VISX & Summit) 25 years ago, at the very beginning of laser vision correction.
PRK is called a “surface ablation” because the laser is applied to the cornea surface, as opposed to LASIK, which requires a cut to lift up a flap of tissue, which is lifted up & the laser applied to the underlying “bed”.
PRK and all non-incisional procedures are inherently safer than LASIK because the cutting step, which is by far the most dangerous step, is eliminated.
PRK never became popular because it requires scraping off the skin of the eye on top of the cornea, which is traumatic so causes significant postoperative inflammation, pain, prolonged recovery, and in some cases pain or scarring. Dr. Chynn performed his last PRK in 1999.
All advanced surgeons, like those who have completed a Cornea & Refractive Fellowship, no longer perform PRK. When they are forced to abandon LASIK (as when the patient has thin corneas, a high prescription, large pupils or dry eyes) advanced surgeons now perform LASEK, also known as alcohol-assisted PRK. This was invented at Harvard in 1993 when Dr. Chynn was doing his ophthalmology training there by Drs Abbad & Talamo, with whom Dr. Chynn published a paper. In LASEK alcohol is used to delaminate or gently separate the epithelium from the cornea, allowing it to be removed atraumatically, thereby preventing inflammation, pain, delayed healing and haze or scarring.
So if a doctor says you can’t get LASIK & recommends PRK, understand that LASEK has replaced PRK & is caused an “advanced surface ablation” to distinguish it from PRK.
PRK patients are often in considerable pain for a week, and don’t see well for 2-3 weeks. In contrast there’s no pain after a well-performed LASEK, & patients see great within a week!
Dr. Chynn is the only eye surgeon in the US who specializes in LASEK, & Park Avenue LASEK is the only center with LASEK in the name. That’s why we’ve performed more LASEKs than any other center or surgeon in the US, and more than every other eye surgeon in New York City-combined!
We had a Navy SEAL come in recently for an enhancement years after his original PRK by another surgeon. Military Special Forces are not allowed to get LASIK, because for the rest of their life the LASIK flap can get torn off by even minor trauma. After his LASEK enhancement he told Dr. Chynn, “I can’t believe I had no pain whatsoever after my LASEK.” Dr. Chynn said, “We told you it would be painless.” The SEAL replied, “Yes, but after my PRK I was curled up lying in a fetal position for a week despite taking narcotics, and I went to a LASIK surgeon who said your LASEK was nothing more than a glorified PRK.” Dr. Chynn replied, “Well it’s good you didn’t listen to him & came to the #1 center in the US for enhancing prior PRKs & LASIKs with a HD LASEK + MMC.”
If this were 1999, it would be reasonable to get or perform a PRK. Now it’s an outdated procedure. Dr. Chynn has performed over 10,000 LASEKs & 5,000 epi-LASEKs, whereas even experienced surgeons who’ve performed over 10,000 LASIKs may have only performed a few hundred PRKs. If the experience of your surgeon matters to you—and it should—it would make no sense to get a PRK anywhere within 200 miles of Park Avenue LASEK, or to get a LASEK in NYC by anyone other than Dr. Chynn.