What is PRK?
PRK is a safe and effective treatment for those who cannot have LASIK
PRK can be a preferred option for some
PRK can treat everything LASIK does, and just as effectively
PRK takes about as long as LASIK to undergo, but recovery takes longer
Most PRK patients can resume driving within one to three weeks after surgery
PRK laser eye surgery – an introduction
A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT HAVE LASIK
PRK is an acronym for PhotoRefractive Keratectomy. It was the first generation of laser eye surgery that is still in use today.
PRK is as effective and safe as LASIK, and it is a better option for some. It’s not as common as it once was, for the reasons we list below (cons).
Pros of PRK
Some patients may not have enough corneal tissue for us to perform LASIK, and this is especially true for some patients with higher prescriptions
Some patients benefit from if they have co-existing issues that we can treat at the same time as correcting the vision. For example, these include scars or a loose surface epithelium (ABMD).
Some patients may engage in activities (e.g. sports and work) that exposes their eyes to blunt force. In these cases, PRK may be a better option
Cons of PRK
Recovery time – Rather than creating a small flap, as we do standard LASIK or custom bladeless LASIK, we roll the entire outer layer (epithelium) to one side. It can take several days for the epithelium to heal and this recovery period can last up to three months
Safety and comfort – Although you won’t feel any pain during the procedure, some patients report minor discomfort and irritation in the week following surgery. That is an expected part of the recovery process and clinics provide pain relief drops to alleviate discomfort for those who need it
PRK versus LASIK
PRK CAN BE AN EXCELLENT OPTION FOR SOME
Both PRK and LASIK use an excimer laser to reshape the inner cornea (the stromal layer) and correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.
The primary difference between PRK and LASIK is that instead of creating a thin flap in the outer cornea (the epithelial layer) to access the underlying stromal tissue, we do not create a flap but instead remove the entire epithelial layer to expose the treatment area.
Because PRK does not involve the creation of the corneal flap, it eliminates the chances of flap-related complications.
Therefore, PRK is an excellent option for anyone with a heightened risk of direct trauma to the face and eye, which could damage the healing corneal flap. That includes members of the military and police force.
We offer special PRK pricing to military and police.
Recovery from PRK tends to be slightly longer than LASIK recovery because it takes a few days for the eye to re-grow a new epithelial layer. While everyone recovers at a different pace, it can take up to several weeks for vision to improve.
PRK can treat everything LASIK can
PRK CAN TREAT NEARSIGHTEDNESS, FARSIGHTEDNESS, AND ASTIGMATISM
If you’re considering laser vision correction in New York, it’s a good idea to weigh all of your options. LASIK is not the only procedure that can give you excellent vision and freedom from glasses and contacts. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), which is the predecessor to standard LASIK, is a worthy alternative. Although the basic elements and goals of the procedures are similar, we execute them differently.
PRK can treat:
How the PRK procedure works
PRK TAKES ABOUT AS LONG AS LASIK DOES TO UNDERGO, BUT RECOVERY TAKES LONGER
Like standard LASIK and custom LASIK, PRK is performed on an outpatient basis and is a fairly short procedure. To relax and numb the patient’s eyes, we use special eye drops and an oral sedative medication.
To begin, I use an alcohol solution or surgical instrument to gently loosen the outer layer of the cornea. Once it is out of the way, I use an excimer laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue.
When I’m happy with the new shape of the cornea, I place a special contact lens over the cornea to protect the eye as it heals. It should take approximately five days for the epithelial layer to grow back.
Recovering from PRK
RECOVERY FROM PRK TAKES SLIGHTLY LONGER THAN IT DOES FOR LASIK, BUT IT’S STILL SHORT
Recovering from PRK takes slightly longer than LASIK, but is still generally short.
After the procedure, you’ll return home and sleep for the rest of the day. Your eyes may feel slightly irritated, but I prescribe pain medications, as well as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications, to relieve the side effects and speed-up your healing process.
We will schedule follow-up visits periodically to check in with you and monitor your eye’s healing.
Once the epithelial layer has grown back, I will remove the protective contact lens. It usually takes a few days to a couple of weeks before you’ll note a visual improvement and your vision stabilizes.
Most patients resume driving within one to three weeks after surgery. Major PRK side effects and complications are uncommon.