PRK uses the same excimer laser as the LASIK procedure to reshape the outer layer of the cornea to correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, PRK eye surgery does not involve creating a flap as in the LASIK procedure.
Reasons to consider PRK:
Enhanced safety - simpler procedure, no flap cutting necessary
Cornea too thin for LASIK - Lasik in thin corneas can result in instability of the cornea
Dry eye - PRK produces less post-opertive dryness compared to Lasik
Disadvantages of PRK:
slower visual recovery (3-6 days compared to 1 day with Lasik)
higher risk of discomfort or pain (some patients complain of their eye being "sore" after surgery)
not suitable for very high prescriptions
In preparation for patients undergoing PRK surgery, anesthetic eye drops are administered. Next, a speculum is placed in the eye to keep the eyelids open, which is normally not uncomfortable. While the patient fixes his or her gaze on a target, the laser reshapes the cornea by removing tissue (a process called ablation), which is controlled and closely monitored by the doctor. The laser is actually guided by a detailed map of the patient’s eye which has been programmed into a computer beforehand. The ablation usually takes less than a minute for each eye, depending on how high the patient’s vision prescription is. Most patients feel no pain during the procedure. After the procedure is complete, a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye. The patient may go home shortly after the procedure; however, someone else must drive or alternate transportation must be arranged.
The Recovery Process
For PRK recovery, Dr. Yoon may prescribe pain medication for recovery; however, most patients don’t require it since only minor discomfort is experienced. Dr. Yoon will also schedule several check-up appointments to monitor the healing process, followed by periodic visits over the next several months. Visual recovery is slower in PRK when compared to Lasik. It takes about 3-6 days post op for vision to become clear with final stabilization after 2 months.
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