What is PRK Eye Surgery?
Similar to Custom Wavefront Optimized LASIK, PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy) laser eye surgery involves using a laser to reshape the cornea. But, unlike other LASIK procedures, instead of creating a flap in the cornea to treat the underlying layers, a thin outer layer of the cornea is removed.
How Does PRK Work?
PRK surgery may be the best alternative for certain eye conditions, and is often preferred if the cornea is determined to be too thin to safely perform traditional LASIK surgery.
After removing the outermost layer of your cornea (the epithelium), a excimer laser is used to reshape the curve of your cornea. This affects the way light travels through to the back of the eye, so that light rays focus more precisely on it, and vision is improved.
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What to Expect With PRK?
The PRK laser eye surgery procedure lasts about 15 minutes. Your LASIK surgeon will use anesthetic drops to numb your eyes. A central area of the corneal epithelium is then gently removed exposing the part of the cornea that needs to be reshaped. The excimer laser, programmed with your exact prescription, is then used to reshape the underlying tissue of the cornea.
A soft contact lens “bandage” will be placed on the cornea to help protect your eye.
The cost of PRK eye surgery is similar to that of traditional LASIK surgery.
Immediately After PRK Eye Surgery
For some patients, PRK laser eye surgery offers advantages over traditional LASIK, although they typically have a longer recovery time, and experience more discomfort. Your contact lens bandage will be removed in about 5 days – the time it takes for new epithelial cells to regenerate and cover the surface of the eye. Noticing the improvements in your vision may be more gradual, from a few days up to a couple of weeks. Most PRK surgery patients can drive about 1 to 3 weeks after the procedure, although it may take 3 to 6 months to notice optimum vision.