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. How your doctor accesses this corneal tissue is where the two procedures differ:
- 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.
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.
This is what to expect during your PRK procedure:
- 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.
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.
Why Choose Us for PRK?
The team at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado has performed over 50,000 refractive surgery procedures, helping thousands of people see more clearly. Our northern Colorado PRK doctors are board-certified and fellowship-trained, so you can rest assured that you will be placing your eye health in good hands. We take time to fully research new technologies and implement the very best options for our patients. In fact, we are the only vision correction provider in northern Colorado to offer multiple vision correction platforms on-site. This allows us to select the right technology to correct your vision imperfections with greater accuracy and safety than ever before.
How Life Can Change After PRK
Millions of people enjoy clearer, crisper vision than they ever imagined after having PRK. For those leading active lifestyles, the freedom of life without the hassle of contacts or glasses is greatly rewarding. Even waking up every morning with clear sight can be truly life-changing. Lastly, the ongoing expenses and hassles of buying contacts and new glasses may be eliminated by investing in the one-time cost of PRK.
Call us today to schedule a free Consultation to see if you are a candidate.
Like any other surgical procedure, certain risks are involved. PRK complications may include nighttime halos or glare, vision loss and the need for glasses or contacts after surgery. It is important that you only undergo PRK if you are completely qualified for the surgery. This is why it is important to determine if you are a PRK candidate and to find a trusted and experienced PRK surgeon to provide you with the best eye care possible.
To learn more about PRK or to schedule your free Consultation, contact the Eye Center of Northern Colorado today