Everything You Should Know About Trans PRK Surgery

trans prk surgery

Refractive eye surgery has transformed the landscape of vision correction, providing myriad options for those seeking to alleviate myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. Among these options, Trans PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) stands out as a contemporary and effective procedure with a rapid healing time.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of this surgery, drawing comparisons with traditional PRK and LASIK, exploring potential side effects, and carefully weighing the benefits and risks associated with this innovative eye surgery.

Overview of Trans PRK Surgery

Whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, or experiencing blurred vision, skilled ophthalmic surgeons and specialists can guide you through the specifics of your diagnosis, offering a thorough exploration of potential treatments. Photorefractive keratectomy, commonly known as Trans PRK, stands out as a refractive eye surgery performed by specialised ophthalmic professionals to rectify vision issues across a diverse patient spectrum.

While LASIK receives widespread acclaim, Trans PRK results in various advantages. Before delving into the advantages of the surgery, let's briefly examine the procedural aspects. In the course of Trans PRK eye surgery, the chosen ophthalmic surgeon removes the epithelium, a thin corneal layer, and subsequently reshapes the corneal tissue beneath using a specialised tool known as an excimer laser. It's reassuring to note that the epithelium is self-repairing, regenerating within a few days, ensuring that no essential visual elements are permanently lost.

The Trans PRK procedure unfolds in a series of meticulous steps:

  • Corneal Numbing: Anaesthetic eye drops are administered to numb the cornea, ensuring a pain-free experience for the patient.
  • Epithelial Removal: Utilising a microkeratome or femtosecond laser, the surgeon gently removes the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium), creating a thin flap of tissue that exposes the middle layer of the cornea.
  • Excimer Laser Treatment: The excimer laser is then applied to the exposed corneal tissue, using ultraviolet light to remove small amounts of tissue precisely. This meticulous process reshapes the cornea, addressing various vision problems.
  • Flap Replacement: Following the laser treatment, the flap of tissue is delicately repositioned. Over the next few days, the epithelial cells regenerate, facilitating the healing process.

Trans PRK represents a refined version of traditional PRK, boasting a faster healing time due to the minimised removal of corneal tissue.

Major Differences Between Trans PRK vs Traditional PRK and Trans PRK vs LASIK

To make an informed decision regarding refractive eye surgery, it is crucial to discern the differences between Trans PRK, traditional PRK, and LASIK.

Trans PRK vs Traditional PRK:

  • Flap Creation: Traditional PRK involves creating a corneal flap with a blade, whereas Trans PRK eliminates the flap and only removes the epithelium before laser treatment.
  • Healing Time: Trans PRK generally offers a quicker recovery than traditional PRK, making it an attractive choice for those seeking expedited results.
  • Corneal Haze: While corneal haze is a potential complication, it is generally less likely in Trans PRK compared to traditional PRK.

Trans PRK vs LASIK:

  • Flap Creation: LASIK encompasses creating a corneal flap using a microkeratome or femtosecond laser. In contrast, Trans PRK omits the flap creation, only removing the epithelium.
  • Recovery Time: The recovery period for Trans PRK is typically faster than LASIK, catering to individuals with active lifestyles.
  • Suitability: Trans PRK may be recommended for individuals ineligible for LASIK due to thin corneas or other factors.
  • Corneal Haze: Corneal haze is a possible complication in PRK but is not an issue in LASIK due to the preservation of the corneal flap, which provides a smoother healing process.

Consulting with an experienced eye surgeon is imperative to determine the most suitable procedure based on individual factors and preferences.

Side Effects of Trans PRK Surgery

While Trans PRK is generally considered a safe procedure, like any surgery, it presents potential side effects. Being aware of the Trans PRK side effects is crucial for individuals considering the surgery.

Short-Term Side Effects:

  • Discomfort and Sensitivity: Mild discomfort, light sensitivity, and a gritty sensation in the eyes are common post-surgery, usually improving within a few days.
  • Blurry Vision: Initial blurry vision is normal and may take days or weeks to stabilise.
  • Halos and Glare: Some individuals may experience temporary halos or glare around lights, particularly at night, resolving as the eyes heal.

Long-Term Side Effects:

  • Dry Eyes: Temporary dryness may occur due to decreased tear production during healing, which is manageable with eye drops.
  • Regression: Slight regression of vision correction over time can occur, which is addressable with enhancements or touch-up procedures.
  • Undercorrection or Overcorrection: In some cases, the desired level of vision correction may not be fully achieved, necessitating additional procedures or the use of glasses/contact lenses.

Major Advantages and Disadvantages of Trans PRK

Opting for Trans PRK surgery provides numerous benefits, making it a compelling choice for individuals seeking vision correction:


  • Improved Vision: Most patients achieve 20/20 vision or better, bidding farewell to glasses or contacts.
  • Accuracy and Precision: Advanced laser technology ensures high accuracy and precision during surgery, effectively treating a wide range of vision problems.
  • Bladeless Procedure: The absence of blades reduces the risk of complications associated with corneal flap creation, as seen in LASIK.
  • Suitability: It is suitable for individuals with thinner corneas, dry eyes, or higher prescriptions who may not be eligible for other laser eye surgeries.
  • Long-Term Stability: Trans PRK results remain stable over the long term, offering permanent vision correction.
  • Quick Recovery: While discomfort may be experienced initially, most people notice improved vision within a week.


  • Corneal Haze: The most common complication is corneal haze, causing blurred vision. This is typically temporary and can be treated with corticosteroid eye drops.
  • Infection: Although the risk is low, infections can occur post-surgery. Sterile techniques and antibiotics help minimise this risk.
  • Dry Eye: Temporary dry eye is possible but can be managed with artificial tears or other treatments.
  • Serious Complications: Rarely, more serious complications like corneal ulcers may occur, but these can usually be treated with medications or additional surgery.

This surgery represents a significant advancement in refractive eye surgery, offering a touch-free and non-invasive alternative with notable benefits. While there are potential risks, the procedure's safety and effectiveness make it a viable option for those seeking a permanent solution to vision issues. It's imperative to consult with a skilled eye surgeon to assess individual suitability and Trans PRK side effects to make an informed decision tailored to specific needs and preferences. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the process and fosters confidence in the decision to undergo Trans PRK surgery.