PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of laser eye surgery that is used to correct visual impairments such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Unlike traditional laser eye surgeries, such as LASIK, PRK does not involve the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the surface of the cornea is removed and the underlying tissue is reshaped with a laser to correct the refractive error. PRK is an effective and safe method for correcting vision and has been used for many years with good results. The procedure typically requires a short recovery time, with most patients experiencing improved vision within a few days.
How Does PRK Differ From LASIK
PRK and LASIK both completely reshape the cornea to improve vision by using a laser (an excimer laser to be specific) to remove part of the tissue underneath the corneal epithelium. The epithelium initially needs to be gotten rid of in order to get access to the tissue and how this is done is what differentiates the 2 procedures.
While LASIK creates and lifts a flap on the external corneal layer, improves the corneal tissue beneath and then replaces the flap, PRK gets rid of the outer layer of the cornea entirely. The external layer will restore normally within a couple of days.
Advantages of PRK
Because PRK completely gets rid of the external corneal layer, there is a greater area of the cornea to deal with. This is ideal for clients with a thin cornea who would otherwise be at danger with LASIK. It is also generally recommended for clients with persistent dry eyes. With PRK, there is likewise less risk of infection or concerns involving the flap and the related healing procedure. This is an advantage for people who lead a way of life in which they are at danger for eye injuries (professional athletes, military, law enforcement etc.) which may subject the flap to injury or complications.
So, Why Is LASIK More Popular?
LASIK is a more popular choice than PRK due to several factors. First, LASIK is often perceived as less painful and more comfortable, as it involves the creation of a corneal flap which allows for a gentler procedure. Second, LASIK has a quicker recovery time compared to PRK, as the corneal flap helps to promote healing. Third, LASIK technology has advanced greatly over the years, allowing for greater precision and improved outcomes. Finally, LASIK has a higher success rate than PRK and is better suited for patients with larger amounts of correction needed. These factors have made LASIK the preferred choice for many patients seeking vision correction surgery. However, it is important to note that the best option for each patient will depend on their individual needs and preferences and a consultation with a healthcare professional is recommended.
What You Need to Know About PRK
Prior to any laser correction surgery, you will meet a surgeon for a thorough examination to evaluate your eye health and determine whether you are a prospect and if so, which kind of surgical treatment would be best fit to your needs.
During this test it is necessary to tell the medical professional any appropriate medical history (injuries, hospitalizations, diseases etc) and existing conditions you have. The cosmetic surgeon will identify if you are currently qualified for surgery and if not, if you will be at a future point, and whether you require any specialized care pre or post surgery.
The surgery itself is an ambulatory treatment. It takes about 15 minutes or less for both eyes and you go home the exact same day. You will need somebody to drive you home from the procedure.
The first step in the procedure is that your eye will be anesthetized using numbing eye drops and then a device will be inserted to prop your eyelids open so you won’t blink. As soon as the eye is numb, the cosmetic surgeon will eliminate the outer epithelial layer of the cornea to expose the underlying tissue.
Then the cosmetic surgeon will utilize the laser to improve the corneal tissue. You might feel a percentage of pressure during this step. Finally, the surgeon will use medicated eye drops and place a short-lived contact lens that is utilized as a plaster to secure the eye.
Following the surgery you will be advised to use medicated eye drops several times every day to lower the threat of infection and you might likewise be offered prescription pain relievers to relieve any pain or discomfort.
Similar to any type of surgical treatment, it is important to thoroughly follow your surgeon’s guidelines after PRK. Ensure that you take your medication as recommended, get enough rest, and call your eye doctor right away if you experience any problems.
It is normal for it to take several days or perhaps weeks for your vision to enhance and approximately 3-6 months for complete healing to clear and steady visual acuity.
Typically, your medical professional will need you to refrain from driving for a week and up to three weeks depending upon how fast your vision recovers.
Risks and Complications of PRK
PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy, is a type of laser eye surgery that corrects visual impairments such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, like any medical procedure, PRK comes with risks and potential complications:
- Pain and discomfort: PRK can be more uncomfortable than other types of laser eye surgery, such as LASIK, as the procedure involves removing the outer layer of the cornea.
- Slow recovery time: The healing process for PRK is slower compared to LASIK, and patients can experience blurred vision for several days or even weeks after the procedure.
- Haze or glare: Some patients may experience glare or halos around lights, especially at night.
- Over or under correction: There is a risk of not achieving the desired outcome, either over or under correction.
- Corneal scarring: In rare cases, PRK can result in corneal scarring that can cause visual impairment.
It’s important to note that these risks and complications are not common and the vast majority of PRK patients experience successful outcomes. However, it is important to discuss these potential risks with a healthcare professional prior to undergoing PRK or any other type of laser eye surgery.