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Are you struggling to see clearly but hate the thought of contact lenses? Have you been told you're not a good candidate for LASIK?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is an alternative to LASIK that can correct the refractive errors that cause blurry vision.

Dr. Justin Coco can perform effective PRK surgery in Boulder, CO, for those struggling with blurry vision who don't qualify for LASIK.

Ready to See Clearly? Contact Our Boulder Practice!


Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism, cause the cornea to bend in unnatural ways, creating blurry vision. Photorefractive keratectomy reshapes your cornea to correct refractive errors and improve your vision, even if you've been told you're not a good candidate for LASIK. Contact us in Boulder, CO, to learn more about the PRK procedure.

PRK Surgery vs. LASIK What's the Difference?

Both laser eye surgeries can resolve common refractive issues and reduce your need for contact lenses or glasses. However, the surgical process is different, which is why some patients are better suited for PRK over LASIK.
layers of an eyeball


During this refractive surgery, your surgeon will use a laser to cut the corneal epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea) and create a small flap. The flap is then peeled back so your surgeon can access the cornea. Using a laser, your surgeon will reshape the cornea and then close the flap without the need for sutures. The corneal flap will remain closed and heal without the need for a contact lens or protective barrier. This laser eye surgery has a quicker recovery than PRK, however, you must have a thick enough cornea to create the flap.

laser going into an eye


During this laser eye surgery, the entire epithelial is removed. Through the use of an excimer laser, the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped. After the procedure, your surgeon will place a contact lens over the remaining portion of your cornea to promote healing. The contact lens can be removed after a few days. Because the entire outer layer of your cornea needs to grow back, the recovery time is longer than LASIK. As you heal, your epithelium will continue to grow back, protecting your reshaped cornea and enhancing your vision. Patients with thin corneas can safely undergo this procedure.

The Results Speak for Themselves PRK is a Successful Refractive Surgery

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- According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Am I a Good Candidate For PRK Surgery?

The best way to determine your candidacy for photorefractive keratectomy is to schedule a consultation at our Boulder, CO, practice. If you have been told you are not a good candidate for LASIK, there is a good chance PRK surgery is a good option for you. Dr. Coco will review your medical and optical health history to determine your candidacy and answer any of your questions about photorefractive keratectomy.

Thin Cornea

Many patients who do not qualify for LASIK due to thin corneas are good candidates for the PRK procedure since the surgery does not require the creation of a flap.

Active Lifestyle

Patients who participate in high-impact sports such as boxing are typically recommended for PRK surgery over LASIK as there is no flap that can be dislodged.

Past Surgery

PRK surgery is effective at fine-tuning your vision. You may be a good candidate if you need further vision correction following laser eye surgery.

Stable Prescription

Good candidates for photorefractive keratectomy have had a stable vision prescription for at least a year. This lowers your chance of needing a second refractive surgery.

Your Medical History Could Affect Your Candidacy


If you have any pre-existing conditions such as cornea disease, uncontrollable diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, or dry eye syndrome, you are typically not recommended for a PRK procedure. These conditions need to be under control or corrected before your laser eye surgery. This will minimize your risk of complications and aid the healing process.

Ready To Ditch the Contact Lenses? Contact Our Boulder, CO, Practice

Blurred vision can be frustrating and dangerous. Photorefractive keratectomy performed by a skilled surgeon can restore your vision for years so you can live safely and comfortably. 

Dr. Coco is a board-certified osteopathic ophthalmologist who focuses on refractive surgeries. With over 20 years of experience, he is skilled at restoring patients' vision and knowing which laser eye surgery will best suit their needs.

View the world through a clear lens. Contact our Boulder, Co, practice today.

(303) 442-6260

"The staff at this office are exceptional. Everyone is nice, friendly and helpful and it's always a pleasant experience." Pearl Street Eye patient Kate Brown

The Process Of a PRK Procedure

Before your surgery, Dr. Coco will examine your eyes, test your vision, and discuss your medical history to determine if the PRK procedure is right for you. This is a quick, outpatient procedure that can take less than 10 minutes. 
While numbing drops are given, there is very little pain or discomfort associated with this procedure.
While numbing drops are given, there is very little pain or discomfort associated with this procedure.


The first step toward clearer vision is to schedule a consultation at our Boulder practice. This will allow Dr. Coco to review your candidacy and determine that PRK is the best option.

Numbing Eye Drops

Dr. Coco will administer numbing eye drops so your entire procedure remains pain-free. He will then place a device that keeps your eye open throughout your surgery.

Accessing the Cornea

Dr. Coco will remove the epithelial layer to access the cornea.

Excimer Laser Reshaping

Dr. Coco will then use an excimer laser to reshape your cornea to correct your refractive error. Each refractive error is reshaped differently to enhance your vision.

Healing Contact Lenses

After your cornea has been reshaped, Dr. Coco will place contact lenses that will protect your cornea as the epithelial layer begins to heal.

Safe Return Home

You should have a trusted friend or family member drive you to and from your appointment. You will be unable to operate heavy machinery immediately following your procedure, however, most patients can return to work the following day.

View the World Clearly After Photorefractive Keratectomy


You will notice a change in your vision immediately following the PRK procedure. However, your final results will become apparent around six months. You should wear your contact lenses for several days following your surgery as it protects your eye and promotes healing.

We Provide Great Care and Great Experiences "I will 100% be back."


Eddie Barr


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If you need contacts or glasses, look no further.  The new staff is THE BEST. I am so happy I went to Dr Cushing at Pearl Street Eye for my contact lens exam. I will 100% be back.

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Laurie Dameron


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So glad Pearl St Eye is open again. My visit there was super - the receptionist and the doctor and everyone there was top notch professional. My new prescriptions for my trifocals and reading glasses are so excellent! The trifocals work wonderfully!

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PRK Recovery Tips Follow Your Eye Surgeon's Instructions

It is crucial that you follow Dr. Coco's after-care instructions to promote a quick and safe recovery.

Avoid Rubbing

You should not touch, poke, or rub your eyes immediately following your PRK surgery. Touching your eyes can lead to an infection and disrupt your recovery. 

Avoid Sunlight

It is important to not squint or strain your eyes following your procedure. Wear sunglasses while outside to shield the harmful rays and prevent straining.

Avoid Exercise

Routine exercises should be paused for the first few days of your recovery. Strenuous exercise and contact sports should be avoided for the first few weeks.

Avoid Swimming

Swimming in a lake, pond, ocean, or even in a chlorinated pool should be avoided. Swimming in any body of water increases your chance of infection.

Use Eye Drops

Dr. Coco will prescribe prescription eye drops to prevent infection during recovery. You should also take over-the-counter lubricating eye drops to prevent dry eye from forming.

Take Vitamins

Vitamins that promote ocular health like omega-3 supplements, should be taken during your recovery. These supplements will help aid healing and maintain the health of your eyes.

"I truly enjoyed my eye exam with Dr. Cushing, I have never been happier with an eye exam than the one I had with him.  He nailed my contact lens prescription.  I will definitely be referring all my friends to Pearl Street Eye." Pearl Street Eye patient Henry Ragland
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Pearl Street Eye

The team at Pearl Street Eye in Boulder, CO, combines cutting-edge technology with a genuine commitment to patients' health. Drs. Stanley Cushing and  Justin Coco, have in-depth experience and are members of the:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology™
  • American Osteopathic Association®
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • International Society of Refractive Surgery®
  • American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • American Optometric Association

Are you due for an eye exam or worried about your vision? Request a consultation or call our practice today at (303) 442-6260.

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Boulder Location

2575 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302

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