PRK in Billings, MT

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About PRK

PRK, also known as Photorefractive Keratectomy, uses the same type of Excimer laser as used in LASIK to change the curve of the cornea. However, unlike LASIK, PRK removes the epithelial cells of the cornea instead of creating a surgical flap. The entire procedure is completely bladeless, and because it doesn't require creating a flap, PRK is a potential option for those who are not candidates for LASIK. It can also be a good option for those with low and moderate correction needs, as well as those experiencing poor night vision. PRK does have a relatively longer recovery period than LASIK; however, its results are usually equal or even better.

At Vance Thompson Vision, our board-certified ophthalmologist surgeons and fellowship-trained eye specialists often recommend PRK with topography for patients with night vision or even halo issues. PRK with topography is ideal for patients whose corneas are too thin for LASIK or who have not had successful results with other less-invasive treatments.

Topography-guided PRK enables your surgeon to follow a computerized, digital map of your eye in order to treat your unique vision problems. We are dedicated to providing our patients access to state-of-the-art technologies, and computerized corneal mapping is an incredible technological advancement that we are very proud to offer. To explore your vision correction options, including PRK, contact us to set up your free consultation at Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT.

Laser FAQs Paying for PRK


To find out if you are a candidate for PRK at Vance Thompson Vision, you will need to come in for a pre-operative consultation. During this consultation, our doctors will discuss both conventional PRK and custom PRK. They will review your eye health history, listen to your concerns, ask you about what hasn't worked for you previously, and then explain which method of PRK they recommend for you. The recommended method will depend largely on your specific visual irregularities and whether they are present in your cornea or lens. We always take ample time to determine the ideal solution for your needs.

Custom PRK enables our surgeons to address vision distortions that cannot be corrected by prescription lenses or LASIK. Vision distortions, referred to as "aberrations," are categorized as lower-order or higher-order aberrations. The lower-order aberrations are refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They are what cause about 90% of a patient's blurred vision. Higher-order aberrations cause the other 10% of blurred vision, particularly in dark or dim environments. Both types of aberrations can qualify you for custom PRK. Our custom PRK technology is extremely sophisticated and can create a highly detailed map of both the lower and higher-order aberrations within your eyes. Once the map is generated, our laser radar tracking device precisely guides the laser to create the ideal contours for your corneas.

Treatment Technique

Your PRK consultation and procedure will be performed at our Billings, MT location. Well before your surgery, we will apply anesthetic eye drops to your eyes so the drops have plenty of time to take full effect. When your eyes are completely numbed, a special eyelid holder will be situated over your eyes to prevent blinking. Your surgeon will then very carefully remove the epithelial cells (the thin surface layer of the cornea) and utilize the complex measurements and mapping created at your pre-operative exam to reshape your cornea with an Excimer laser. The reshaping portion of the procedure only lasts a matter of seconds. When the surgeon has achieved your ideal corneal contours, protective bandage contact lenses will be inserted into each eye. Due to the anesthetic drops, you won't even feel these bandages at first, and they also work to provide extra comfort as your epithelial cells regenerate over the next couple of weeks. As they regenerate, you might feel some mild discomfort and notice light sensitivity.

What to Expect

PRK patients typically have mild to moderate eye discomfort, such as a gritty feeling and soreness, for about a week. Vision issues such as light sensitivity and glare or "halos" are also a normal part of the healing process and usually last approximately five weeks. The majority of PRK patients are able to get back to work and driving their vehicles within about a week; however, this period can last a bit longer for patients with hyperopia or astigmatism.

Overall, the full healing period after PRK is about six months, but most patients are able to experience and enjoy their full vision outcomes within 1 – 3 months. Like with LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures, your vision will be remarkably improved but can still gradually begin to decline again due to the natural aging process. This is because laser vision correction addresses the cornea, not the lens, which is responsible for age-related vision impairment such as presbyopia. 

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Procedure Information

Procedure Time  
20 minutes
Follow Up Time  
3 days, 2 weeks, 1 month
Recovery Location  
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See Life More Clearly

At Vance Thompson Vision, we are devoted to helping our patients live their lives unencumbered by the frustrations of poor vision. Our remarkable team of eye specialists provides a full range of the most successful, innovative, FDA-approved laser vision correction procedures for patients dealing with impaired vision. Reach out to us soon at our Billings, MT facility to plan your PRK consultation with board-certified ophthalmologist surgeon Dr. Russell Swan or another of our board-certified ophthalmologist surgeons.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.