Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) by a Highly Trained Surgeon

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

If you're tired of wearing contacts or glasses, you may have considered vision correction surgery. But for patients with thin corneas or certain professions and hobbies, LASIK may not be an option. 

Dr. Andrew E. Holzman offers PRK in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. This surgery can eliminate the need for contacts or glasses, even for patients who are not considered good LASIK candidates. 

Are you curious about what makes PRK a great option? 

I'm happy I decided to have the procedure, and was really impressed by Dr. Holzman, and the results have been amazing - my eyesight is better than with eyeglasses! Robert H.

Take a Look  at What Happens during PRK

Most Patients Are Extremely Satisfied with PRK 

PRK satisfaction rate

*According to a study published in Cureus.

Ready to join the thousands of patients who have achieved clearer vision with PRK? 

Schedule a consultation at our Washington D.C.-area practice to find out if PRK is right for you.

Do You Qualify for PRK?

Patients who are not good candidates for LASIK are often good candidates for PRK. LASIK requires a certain corneal thickness to facilitate creating a hinged tissue flap in the outer layer of the cornea. If your cornea is too thin to accommodate a flap, PRK may be the recommended alternative.

Meanwhile, patients with large pupils, thin corneas, corneal scars, a history of radial keratotomy, or corneal implants should not have LASIK, but may be candidates for PRK. Patients who participate in contact sports or have jobs that may subject them to eye injuries may not be good candidates for LASIK due to the possibility of flap complications. These patients may be better candidates for PRK. Patients can expect to undergo a detailed candidacy evaluation during their appointment at a TLC Laser Eye Center office in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia.

Evaluating Your Candidacy

A Comprehensive Examination

During your initial consultation, Dr. Holzman will thoroughly examine your eyes to assess corneal thickness, the size of your pupils, the moistness of your eyes, and the degree of correction you require. He will also review your medical history and current medication intake to check for any conditions that would contraindicate PRK.

Dr. Holzman has performed over 80,000 vision correction procedures with life-changing outcomes. You can expect that he will not recommend PRK unless he determines that you are an excellent candidate.

Eye exam
Still not sure if PRK is right for you? 

Request a consultation with Dr. Holzman at our Washington D.C.-area practice, with locations in Maryland and Virginia. He can conduct a thorough analysis to determine if you are a candidate.

Similar Results to LASIK

A Different Tactic for Clearer Vision

Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States since 1996

PRK differs from LASIK in that the epithelium, or the outer layer of the cornea, is removed entirely during the procedure in order to access the stroma, or inner layer of the cornea. 

While LASIK is more well-known, PRK can create similar results. Studies show that about 94 percent of patients see improvement in their vision after PRK surgery.

What Happens during PRK Surgery

Illustration of PRK surgery

Advanced Technology for Excellent Results

In order to ensure your comfort and provide stellar results, Dr. Holzman has invested in cutting-edge laser eye correction technology

For the first stage of PRK surgery, he uses the IntraLase® iFS Laser to remove the epithelium with incredible precision.

Then, Dr. Holzman utilizes technology from ALLEGRETTO WAVE™ to reduce surgery and recovery time. These tools also increase the precision of vision correction and minimize the risk of complications.

Day of Procedure


We will clean the area around your eyes and then apply anesthetic eye drops to keep you comfortable.

Speculum Placement

Once your eyes are completely numb, we will place an instrument called a speculum to prevent you from blinking.

Epithelium Removal

Once you have been prepped, Dr. Holzman will remove the thin outer layer the cornea. 

Cornea Reshaping

Dr. Holzman will ask you to look directly at a target light while he reshapes your cornea. Each eye takes less than a minute.


Following your PRK procedure, Dr. Holzman will examine your eyes with a slit lamp to assess the results.

Soft Lens Placement

He will then place soft contact lenses that act like bandages, which you will need to wear for three to five days.

Recovering after PRK Surgery

You may experience blurred or hazy vision for one to five days. As the epithelium heals, you may notice some discomfort. To minimize any pain, we can provide you with eye drops and pain medication.

In most cases, you can return to normal activities within one to three days. Your vision may continue to fluctuate for up to six months following the procedure.

Post-Operative Guidelines

To ensure that your healing process is quick and comfortable, you should follow specific guidelines:

  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Wear protective eyewear as you sleep
  • Sweat can harm the healing of your eyes, so only do moderate exercise
  • Use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist
  • Do not go into a sauna or hot tub
  • You can shower normally
  • Do not go swimming until you are cleared by your doctor
  • Avoid getting particles from smoke, dirt, dust, soap, and other substances in your eyes
  • Take Vitamin C and Omega-3 supplements to help the healing process
  • Avoid extreme weather conditions for several months
  • Notify Dr. Holzman if your bandage contact lens becomes dislodged or if you have symptoms such as irritation or yellow pus in your eye

If you follow Dr. Holzman’s postoperative instructions, you should be able to return to daily activities quickly.

As your vision improves over the first few days, you can watch TV, use a computer, or read. Many patients are able to safely drive within the first week following surgery.

2 weeks after my PRK procedure with Dr. Holzman, I can see 20/20 and the recovery is even faster than I expected. Excellent service. Highly Recommended! Penny L.

Surgery Can Result in Dramatically Clearer Vision

Eye chart before PRK
Eye chart after PRK
Before PRK, nearsightedness makes objects in the distance look hazy and out of focus. PRK allows you to see with clarity.

Comparable Results to LASIK

PRK candidates can expect to achieve results similar to LASIK.

Although it typically takes longer to fully recover and achieve optimal results following PRK, the procedure remains the vision correction method of choice for patients with especially thin corneas or scars that prevent them from being suitable candidates for LASIK.

In general, more than 90 percent of patients achieve at least 20/40 vision after PRK, and more than 70 percent achieve 20/20 vision. As few as one percent of patients require a touch-up procedure following their initial surgery.

Just five percent of patients need to continue wearing glasses or contacts (usually at a much lower prescription) after PRK. Patients who undergo PRK surgery should take extra precautions when driving, as vision and depth perception may fluctuate. 

Ready to change your life with PRK? 

Make an appointment at our Washington D.C.-area practice or feel free to ask us some questions.

Maintaining Your Vision

TLC Lifetime Commitment

We strive to provide our patients with the best possible vision care. TLC Lifetime Commitment is our program designed to bring your world into focus and keep it that way. Membership in this program allows you to receive enhancement surgery without charge, should you need it. This program is only available to qualifying patients.*


Patient Satisfaction Matters to Us

If necessary, Dr. Holzman can perform a touch-up procedure for no additional charge within a year of your PRK surgery.

Hear about Lori's Experience after PRK

PRK patient Lori, who is also a member of Dr. Holzman's team, discusses her results two weeks after the procedure. Lori was able to return to most of her normal activities just a few days after surgery.
I had PRK surgery in 2012 and now have 20/15 vision in both eyes. I couldn't be more pleased with the result. My only regret is not doing it sooner. Money well spent! Pete Snyder

How Much Does PRK Cost?

Investing in Your Vision

When you meet with Dr. Holzman, you will have the opportunity to discuss your total treatment cost. PRK cost is determined using a variety of factors, including the region in which we practice, but you should know it is never a good idea to compromise quality for price. Simply put: choose a doctor with extensive experience, modern techniques, and sophisticated technology to maximize the likelihood of outstanding results.

PRK cost chart

Choose an Established Surgeon

Regardless of what doctor you choose, there is always a chance that you will require revision surgery. Despite the sometimes cheaper pricing, it is essential to trust your care to a doctor who is dedicated to the quality of your vision and who will be there when you need them.

If the doctor you are considering is new to the area, they may be employed by a larger corporation that rotates its staff around the country. In the event that you require additional visual correction, you may have to turn to a new doctor, who may not be able to acquire the medical information they need to provide you with effective care.

Dr. Holzman strives to help his patients achieve clearer vision and keep it sharp, and goes to great lengths to ensure a high standard of care.

Dr. Holzman is an established local doctor, serving patients in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and surrounding states, and has performed many secondary procedures for his extensive patient base. He also offers touch-ups at no additional charge during the year following your initial surgery.

Dr. Holzman is like an answer to your prayers. He kept my anxiety at an all time low and is extremely quick with the procedure. It was almost too quick (I was enjoying the light show). Would go back and recommend to my own friends and family. Krystal P.

Dr. Holzman Is Highly Experienced

Dr. Holzman has performed more than 70,000 LASIK, PRK, and other ophthalmologic procedures over his decades-long career.

I just had my PRK procedure yesterday at TLC in Charlottesville VA. I've been wearing glasses since 2nd grade & I can't thank the staff and Dr. Holzman for giving me the best experience with lasik I could have asked for. Would highly recommend them to anyone who is looking into having LASIK. Madalyn Waybright Quinlan - May 11, 2016

The Risks of PRK

As with all laser vision correction techniques, there is a very small risk of scarring or infection as a result of the procedure. Dr. Holzman and TLC Laser Eye Centers use special protocols and medications to minimize all risks and side effects. PRK surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can return home the day of surgery. 

Dr. Holzman's vast experience in PRK and other refractive surgeries can minimize risks and ensure a successful outcome.

Temporary Side Effects

Even safe PRK surgery performed by an experienced surgeon will result in some temporary side effects, including:

  • Irritation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Unstable vision

By following your surgeon's directions and attending follow-up screenings, these side effects will gradually subside.

The steroidal eye drops prescribed following PRK surgery also carry some risks. Minor risks include irritation and itching, as well as redness and inflammation.

Precise Planning Can Minimize Risks

Why Pre-Surgery Screening Matters

Careful assessment of your PRK candidacy can dramatically reduce the risk of complications and boost the likelihood of a successful surgery.

For example, if you have an autoimmune disorder, take steroids, or have keratoconus, you may not be able to safely undergo the procedure.

Dr. Holzman conducts an in-depth evaluation before recommending PRK or any refractive surgery to ensure the safety and satisfaction of his patients.


Aging and Your PRK Results

Understanding the Effect of Presbyopia

Patients must understand that even if they are excellent candidates, and if an experienced surgeon performs their procedure, the results of PRK will not last forever.

As we age, vision inevitably declines, and this is true for those who have undergone refractive surgery as well as those who have not. Presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness, is a condition in which the lens loses elasticity, and can no longer provide the same degree of focus.

Patients may eventually elect to have a "touch-up" procedure to restore the results of PRK, or undergo other treatments to keep their need for corrective eyewear at a minimum. 

... the eye consultation was free and my sister spoke very highly of TLC. so I researched them a little more and went for the consultation. They only do laser eye correction and the doctors were extremely positive and informative. None of my interactions ever seemed rushed and they genuinely seem to care about how things r going...  I ended up getting prk... ​I'm at 20/15 vision and very happy!! Lola S. - January 24, 2018

How Does PRK Differ From LASIK?

Illustration of prkYou've likely heard of LASIK, but many of our patients are less familiar with photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Both types of refractive surgery share the same goal: to reduce or eliminate your dependency upon corrective eye wear like glasses and contacts. Both surgeries can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. The two differ in their approach to accessing the corneal tissue. 

Procedural Approach


During PRK, the entire outer layer of the cornea is removed using a "buffing" device. An excimer laser is used to refine the curvature of the tissue underneath. 


During LASIK, on the other hand, stroma is accessed through a surgically created flap. The flap is then simply closed shut. 

In both procedures, Dr. Holzman uses advanced equipment like the ALLEGRETTO WAVE™ and Intralase® FS Laser to make your procedure as safe and effective as possible.

Comparing LASIK and PRK


20/20 vision achieved X X
Immediately clear vision X
Good for thin or thick corneas X
No risk of flap complications X
Fast recovery X


Possible need for post-operative treatment X X
Flap complications may occur X
Results may lead to astigmatism X X
Longer recovery X
Side effects like dry eye X X


Are both eyes treated the same day?

Both eyes can be treated on the same day or during separate procedures. Your doctor can help you determine which course of action is best for you.

What is an enhancement procedure?

In rare instances, vision may be under or over-corrected. A minor enhancement or touch-up procedure can be performed to achieve better results.

How long will it take for my vision to stabilize?

While you may experience vision fluctuation for the first few days after surgery, your vision should gradually stabilize within about three to six months.

Dr. Andrew Holzman

Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS

Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS, is one of the most well-respected ophthalmologists in the greater Washington D.C. area. He is regularly sought out by professional athletes, media personalities, and other doctors for laser eye surgery. Dr. Holzman is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • The American College of Surgeons
  • The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • The American Medical Association
  • The International Society of Refractive Surgery

To schedule a consultation at one of our five locations, please fill out our online form or give us a call at (703) 556-9155.

Contact Us Today

Dr. Holzman is the best - very honest, very professional yet very friendly and personable. Ben E.

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