Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
PRK or photorefractive keratectomy is the earliest form of laser vision correction. Although it was established before LASIK and more recent techniques, it is still a popular and effective way of correcting a range of vision problems so patients have little to no reliance on prescription eyewear. While most patients are suitable candidates for LASIK and newer techniques, PRK is still a feasible eye surgery depending on your eye health and conditions.
What to Expect During PRK Surgery?
PRK surgery is very similar to other forms of laser vision correction. Before your procedure can begin, your eyes will be numbed with an anesthetic to ensure that you do not experience any discomfort.
Once your eyes are suitably anesthetized, Dr. Ahdoot will remove the epithelium, which is the thin, outer layer of corneal tissue. In doing this, he can then access the underlying cornea tissue which is to be reshaped in order to correct the refractive error that requires you to wear glasses or contact lenses. Since every patient is different, precisely how the cornea will be reshaped will depend on your individual requirements. This will be planned ahead of your procedure.
The actual lasering takes less than 5 minutes per eye, although you will need to allow time for preparation and for your eyes to be monitored following the surgery. You will also need to arrange for someone to drive you home as you won’t be able to drive until your vision has fully recovered.
It is normal to experience some mild discomfort after your PRK surgery, but over the counter pain medications should be sufficient to manage this. The second and third days tend to be the most uncomfortable, after which time you should start to see an improvement in how your eyes feel. You might also experience a number of effects – more on this below.
You will be advised to rest immediately after you get home, and not to do anything that involves the use of your eyes. Many patients take a nap for several hours. It is essential that you follow Dr. Ahdoot's instructions with regards to caring for your eyes during your recovery. For example, you should avoid getting water in your eyes and should wear a special shield over them when you shower. You will also be given medicated eye drops that will help your cornea to heal, and this should be taken exactly as directed.
In most cases, patients are recommended to take time off of work to give your eyes sufficient time to recover and heal. You will have had your post-PRK surgery check with Dr. Ahdoot who will be able to let you know if you pass the legal sight requirements to drive. However, if your effects of surgery extend beyond 10 days, it is important to contact our office immediately.
PRK Side Effects
You might experience a number of different effects following your PRK surgery. Some of the most common include:
- Watering eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning or dryness
- A sensation as though there is something lodged in your eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
If you are concerned about any of the side effects that you are experiencing, don’t hesitate to contact our offices, as we also offer more advanced laser eye techniques with fewer symptoms.
Advantages of PRK
Like other laser eye surgeries, there are a number of advantages to choosing PRK.
Some of the most significant include:
- Wide eligibility. PRK laser vision correction can be successfully used to correct a wide range of refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
- The elimination of flap-related complications. Since PRK sees the removal of the entire epithelium rather than a flap, patients who chose PRK can avoid flap-related complications which can be an issue experienced by patients who choose LASIK.
- A great option for patients with thin/damaged corneas. All patients are different, and some have thinner corneas than others. Because PRK doesn’t require the creation of a flap, it is particularly suitable for patients who have corneas that are too thin for LASIK.
- Fantastic success rate. Around 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision following their PRK surgery, meaning that they no longer need to use glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.
For more information about PRK, or to schedule a consultation, call Progressive Ophthalmology today at 718-565-2020.