What Can What Can PRK Correct?
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was actually the first type of vision correction procedure approved by the FDA in 1995 to reshape the cornea (even before LASIK). Since then millions of PRK procedures have been performed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, helping most patients see more clearly without glasses or contacts.
Patients who are not good candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas or other conditions may be good candidates for PRK and end up with clear vision like most LASIK patients. At the heart of the procedures, both LASIK and PRK involve the use of an excimer laser to remove tiny amounts of corneal tissue to create a more ideal shape and correct a refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism). This allows light to focus on the retina for clear vision.
What Are The Steps of PRK?
Prior to any PRK procedure, our team takes precise measurements of the individual curvature of your cornea and microscopic nuances of your eye anatomy. We use Wavescan 3D mapping to create a blueprint of your eye. This is used to guide your treatment to produce the best vision results.
Because your eyes need time to recover an intact outer layer on the cornea, expect to take several days off from work to recover from PRK. Your best vision results will probably take longer to achieve, but most patients are able to return to non-strenuous activities after 1-2 weeks. It is important to keep your follow-up visits so your doctor can monitor your progress.
Anesthetic eye drops are administered to numb your eyes. A lid speculum is used to keep your eyes open.
Your doctor gently removes your cornea’s outer (epithelial) layer to allow access to the underlying tissue.
A laser is used to reshape your cornea according to your unique refractive error. Only miniscule amounts of corneal tissue need to be removed in most cases. We use the WaveLight EX500® laser for this step. The procedure takes only minutes to complete on both eyes and it is virtually painless.
A contact lens is temporarily placed on the cornea to protect the eye as the epithelial cells regenerate.
How Different Is PRK From LASIK?
LASIK: your doctor creates a hinged corneal flap that is folded back for excimer laser treatment and then replaced on the cornea where it begins to heal immediately.
PRK: your doctor removes a thin layer of tissue on the cornea (the epithelium). After the excimer laser treatment is complete, the epithelium needs time to grow back, which typically takes 3-5 days.