Photorefractive Keratectomy | LASIK Alternative | PRK Surgery
What is Photorefractive Keratectomy?
If you have mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, then you may be a candidate for laser eye surgery or PRK to help correct these problems.
Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a possible option for patients who have a cornea that is too thin for LASIK to be effective or for patients who have previously undergone LASIK treatment. During the PRK procedure, Dr. Davis will remove the top layer of the cornea tissue then use a laser to reshape the tissue so it can properly focus light. Next, a soft bandage is placed on top of the cornea to help heal the underlying tissues. After 4-5 days, the bandage is removed. The PRK surgery typically lasts less than 30 minutes, however, it has a couple of additional weeks of healing time compared to LASIK.
How does PRK surgery work?
To begin, Dr. Davis will begin by place numbing drops into your eye and may give you some medication to help relax.
Once the numbing drops are given a few seconds to take effect, Dr. Davis will place a lid speculum on your eye to keep it open. Next, a marker is used to identify your cornea and then apply a suction ring on your eye to prevent movement. A slight feeling of pressure and/or dimmed vision may occur while the ring is in place. While focusing on a target light to steady your eye, Dr. Davis will remove the epithelium or the outer layer of the cornea. Next, the epithelium is discarded and Dr. Davis will use the WaveLight EX500 Excimer Laser to reshape the cornea to correct your vision.
During the reshaping process, you may hear a clicking noise or smell a slight burning odor as the laser reshapes your corneal tissue. This is completely normal. Dr. Davis will then place a soft bandage, similar to a contact lens over your eye to act as a barrier while your eye heals.
How Should I Prepare?
On the day of your PRK procedure, please arrange transportation to and from your appointment. Due to the type of procedure, you won’t be able to drive. As mentioned before, the PRK procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The best part? This all happens while you, the patient, are relaxing in a chair.
PRK surgery is more invasive than LASIK and requires extra time for your eyes to heal. Due to the extended healing time, your vision will remain impaired particularly during the first week after the procedure until the bandage is removed by your doctor.
What to Expect After a PRK Procedure
Many patients experience a slight itching, burning or discomfort immediately after the procedure. It is extremely important to remember to not rub your eyes as this could cause damage to the corneal tissue. You will be given an eye shield to be placed over your eye as protection. This shield should be worn the first couple of days after the procedure to prevent you from rubbing your eye while you sleep and accidentally getting hit or poked as your cornea heals.
The doctor may also prescribe eye drops to be taken to prevent infection or inflammation and artificial tears to help lubricate the eye. Within 24-48 hours after surgery, a follow-up visit with your doctor will be scheduled to monitor your progression. A second appointment will be scheduled approximately 4-5 days after surgery to remove the bandage. Multiple follow-up visits over the following months will also be conducted to ensure vision stabilization.
Generally, we advise waiting at least one week after surgery before driving and beginning any non-contact sports. It is highly encouraged to speak with your doctor before resuming any activity as each patient will experience variable healing times.
Let’s Get Started | Alternatives to LASIK
We don’t expect you to be a specialist in PRK surgery and decide that it’s the best treatment for you. That’s what Dr. Davis is here for! We just want to give you some extra resources to ensure that, if it is the right treatment for you, you know what to expect. Schedule your eye appointment now with the Davis Eye Center so we can discuss your vision health!