Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a type of refractive surgery. This surgery corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism (also known as refractive error). When people think of laser vision correction, LASIK is usually the procedure that comes to mind. PRK is another option for laser vision surgery for patients who are not candidates for LASIK.
The main difference between the PRK surgery and LASIK is that PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the first layer of the cornea is removed, but it will grow back within a week. The laser treatment used to reshape the cornea is exactly the same as with LASIK.
PRK is very similar to the LASIK procedure. The only difference with how these surgeries are completed is in the first step. In LASIK a corneal flap is created, but with PRK the surgeon removes the outermost layer of the cornea. Then, during the surgery, your surgeon will reshape the cornea using an excimer laser. The corneal layer will grow back within 3-7 days. Before this surgery begins, your eye will be numbed with eye drops. In total, the PRK procedure takes about 12-15 minutes for both eyes to complete.
After the surgery is complete, your ophthalmologist will place a “bandage” contact lens over your eye to help it heal. You should plan to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first day. It is important to relax after the surgery and get plenty of rest. With PRK, your vision will be blurry for 3-5 days after the surgery. As you heal, your vision will improve. Most patients will need to take a few days off of work while they recover unless they do one eye at a time.
Your eye care specialist at Boston Vision will give you detailed instructions for your PRK recovery.
The PRK surgery is beneficial for those who are not suitable for LASIK but still want to correct their vision. For patients with thin corneas, PRK is a good option. Patients who are at high risk of eye trauma may also choose PRK to avoid having a LASIK flap. To get this laser surgery, patients’ should be at least 18 years or older, have an eye prescription that hasn’t changed in the last year, and have healthy corneas. During an in-person consultation with your Boston Vision ophthalmologist, they will examine your eyes and health history to see if this procedure could benefit you.
If you are tired of needing glasses or contact lenses to see clearly, PRK can be a great solution for you. Schedule an appointment at Boston Vision by booking an appointment online or giving us a call at 617-202-2020
LASIK and PRK procedures are available at our Brookline, Milford, Medford, Wellesley, and Andover locations.
For more questions and answers by our surgeons about the various refractive options go to www.asktheleasikexpert.com.