We have all heard the praises of somebody who has had a laser eye surgery and how much they absolutely love the results. The idea of being able to see clearly all the time without the help of corrective lenses is an attractive option for many of us.
While many of our patients have heard of Lasik, it is rarer for somebody to know about PRK or photorefractive keratectomy. PRK has actually been around longer than Lasik and was the precursor for the operation. While Lasik is popular, many patients are still choosing PRK for some of the specific advantages that it offers.
What Is PRK?
PRK is a surgery that is performed to reshape the cornea so that light and images can properly pass through and not appear distorted or blurry. PRK uses the same laser that Lasik uses (an excimer laser). This laser is controlled by computer and removes microscopic layers of tissue from the cornea in a specific pattern until the cornea is properly shaped. Once the eye has healed, patients can see clearly day or night.
Who Should Consider PRK?
There are many patients who simply aren’t good candidates for Lasik. These include patients with dry eyes or thin corneas. These patients generally cannot have Lasik performed, and their only option is PRK. However, many patients who could have Lasik still turn to PRK. Lasik and PRK differ primarily in how they access the cornea.
Lasik cuts a small flap over the cornea, and once the surgery is completed, this flap is replaced. PRK removes that flap and discards it. Over the course of the next few days, the cells grow again to cover the cornea. Some patients who are highly active are concerned with the possibility of dislodging the corneal flap and may opt for PRK.
Additionally, there are some general requirements for PRK patients.
- You should be at least 18, preferably over 21 when your prescription is less likely to change.
- Your prescription should not have changed in a year.
- Your corneas and eyes need to be good overall health.
- The refractive error that you are trying to correct must be a type that PRK can correct.
If you are considering PRK, contact our offices and schedule a consultation today. During that appointment, your doctor will check your eyes and medical history to ensure that PRK is right for you. Some of the things that they will check include:
- General eye health
- Corneal measurements
- Pupil size
- Measurements for refractive error
- Medical history for certain conditions
While PRK offers patients many significant advantages over other treatment options, there are also some things that you should consider. PRK removes the cells that lie immediately over the cornea. This does have a higher potential for infection after the surgery. You will be given a special “contact bandage” to help cover and protect the eye and reduce this risk.
Additionally, because this skin is completely removed, it takes a little bit longer than Lasik to heal, or to see your full results. The healing process generally takes about 4-5 days. At that time, your doctor can remove the bandages from your eyes, and may test your vision then. However, some patients can take up to two weeks to see the maximum change.
As the eyes heal, many patients report seeing halos or blurriness, but this has usually resolved when the eyes have healed.
If you have been considering Lasik or any other eye treatments, call our offices today and schedule an appointment. Our staff at the Manhattan Lasik Center can help answer all of your questions and make sure to get you the best possible results.