Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK, is a laser procedure that can provide permanent vision correction. PRK is a great alternative to LASIK and can be a better fit for some people.
The PRK procedure is a safe and effective option to reduce your dependency on contact lenses or glasses. Keep reading to learn more about what PRK is!
The goal of PRK is to reshape your cornea to correct your refractive error. PRK can correct common refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Refractive errors can occur due to the length of your eye, the shape of your cornea, or as a process of aging. The cornea is the transparent front part of your eye.
Light passes through the cornea and reaches the back of the eye, where the retina is. The retina is comprised of photosensitive cells that send signals to the brain to form an image for you to see.
The irregularities in the cornea can distort the light as it passes through your eye and cause it to not fall directly on the retina. If the light doesn’t fall directly on the retina, the images your brain processes will be blurry.
The PRK procedure aims to improve these irregularities in your cornea, allowing you to see clearer. During PRK, your eye doctor will use an excimer laser to change the cornea’s curvature.
Changing the shape of your cornea will compensate for the irregularities and improve your vision. By doing this, you will be able to see better and reduce the need for contact lenses or glasses.
The PRK Procedure
PRK is a relatively quick and simple procedure. It’s an outpatient surgery, meaning you’ll have the procedure and then be able to go home the same day.
Before the procedure, your eye doctor will numb your eyes with drops. You will have to remain awake for the surgery, but your eye doctor may give you a mild sedative to help you relax.
Before reshaping the cornea, your eye doctor will first remove the outer layer of the cornea with a special instrument. This layer is called the epithelium.
After surgery, the epithelium will grow back on its own within a few weeks. Then, your eye surgeon will use a preprogrammed excimer laser to shape your cornea to correct your refractive error.
After the laser process is complete, your eye doctor will place special contact lenses over your eyes to protect them as the epithelium regrows. Your eye doctor will give you specific instructions that you will be required to follow for the following days to weeks after the procedure.
You may also be required to use eye drops to promote healing and help avoid complications. It is essential that you abide by these instructions to have the best outcome for your vision.
What Are The Differences Between PRK and LASIK?
Both PRK and LASIK use an excimer laser to change the shape of your cornea. The primary difference is that your eye doctor makes a flap on the cornea’s front surface during the LASIK procedure instead of removing the epithelium, as in PRK.
The flap is made on the front of the cornea, and your eye doctor treats the cornea tissue below this flap with the excimer laser. After treating the underlying cornea tissue, your eye doctor repositions the flap, and it heals naturally.
Because the corneal flap acts as a natural bandage, initial recovery from LASIK is usually a bit faster than PRK. However, full recovery takes about the same time in both procedures.
You can also expect high-quality vision results for both LASIK and PRK. Both procedures have a high satisfaction rate, and most patients notice improved vision within a few days of the surgery.
LASIK and PRK aim to improve your quality of vision and decrease your dependence on contact lenses and glasses. Freedom from contacts and glasses can provide invaluable improvement in your quality of life.
If you are interested in permanent vision correction, the best way to determine what procedure is right for you is to visit your eye doctor. You can talk to your eye doctor about your vision goals, and they will be able to guide you in choosing the procedure that will accomplish those goals.
If you are considering permanent vision correction, you will first have to visit your eye doctor for a refractive evaluation. During this consultation, your eye doctor will take measurements of your eye to ensure you will be a good candidate for laser vision correction.
In some cases, when people do not qualify as a candidate for LASIK, eye doctors will recommend PRK. Some people don’t qualify for LASIK because their corneas are too thin.
The cornea needs to be thick enough to accommodate a corneal flap for LASIK. If there isn’t enough corneal tissue left after making the flap, it can be challenging for the excimer laser to shape it.
Since the PRK procedure doesn’t require the creation of a corneal flap, your corneas don’t need to be as thick. If your cornea is too thin for LASIK, you can still be able to have PRK safely.
The PRK procedure is often a better choice for patients prone to dry eye. Your eye doctor will usually recommend treating any existing dry eye before having a laser vision correction procedure.
Since there is less opportunity for corneal irritation during the PRK procedure, you are less likely to experience dry eyes after the surgery. Because of this, PRK can be a good choice for people who have dry eye syndrome.
PRK is a safe and highly effective vision correction procedure. PRK is a wonderful alternative to LASIK that can give you the same fantastic visual improvement.
Are you interested in learning more about how PRK can change your life? Schedule a consultation at Loden Vision Centers in Nashville, TN, today!