PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was the first procedure performed using the excimer laser. It corrects vision by reshaping the cornea. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that with LASIK, a corneal flap is created and the laser is applied to the inner tissue of the cornea. With PRK, the epithelium (or outer skin of the cornea) is removed and a laser is applied to the surface of the cornea.
PRK can be used to correct low to high levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
To treat nearsightedness, the steep cornea is made flatter by removing tissue from the center of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from in front of the retina to directly on the retina.
To treat farsightedness, the flat cornea is made steeper by removing tissue outside of the central optical zone of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from behind the retina to directly on the retina.
To treat astigmatism, the cornea is made more spherical — like a basketball instead of a football. This eliminates multiple focusing points within the eye and creates one point of focus on the retina. Astigmatism can be treated at the same time as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Ideal candidates for PRK:
Want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts
Are over 18 years of age
Have had a stable eye prescription for at least one year
Have no health issues affecting their eyes
Have corneas too thin for LASIK
Often, PRK is an excellent alternative for patients who are not suitable candidates for LASIK.
Your PRK Procedure
You will arrive at our Northeastern Pennsylvania ophthalmology office about an hour prior to your procedure. Once you have been checked in, you may be offered a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape may be applied around your eye. Anesthetic eye drops will be used to numb your eyes; no injections or needles will be used. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
Your PRK procedure will generally take less than five minutes to complete. During the procedure, your doctor will remove the epithelium, a thin layer of protective skin that covers the cornea. You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes your cornea. The laser will be programmed with the information gathered in your pre-operative exam. The laser treatment will be completed in less than a minute or two, depending on the amount of correction needed.
Following your PRK procedure, your eyes will be examined with a slit lamp microscope. Your eyes may be shielded for protection. Your vision may be somewhat blurry or hazy for up to 7 days. You may experience some discomfort as the epithelium heals and covers the treated area. Eye drops, pain medication and possibly a protective contact lens can be used to minimize this discomfort. Most patients resume normal activities within one to three days. Vision can fluctuate for up to three months.
Once the recovery period is over you will get the opportunity to experience the world with clear, improved eyesight. Your dependence on glasses or contact lenses will be greatly reduced.
Please call 888-EYE-2010 or contact Eye Care Specialists today to schedule your free PRK consultation. We serve patients in Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Kingston, and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.