You have probably heard of LASIK if you have considered laser vision correction. Have you heard about PRK? Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser vision correction procedure that makes a great option for people who do not qualify for LASIK. If you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, you may benefit from PRK.
What is PRK?
PRK uses a laser to reshape the cornea of your eye to correct a refractive error. These errors happen when light entering the eye does not focus on the retina as it should. Instead, it focuses at the wrong distance, leading to blurred vision. Laser vision correction changes the shape of the cornea, changing the angle of the incoming light. The difference between PRK and LASIK lies in how the surgeon accesses the cornea for laser reshaping.
What are the Benefits of PRK?
Like other vision correction methods, PRK will correct your refractive error and give you clearer vision. Advantages of PRK include:
- Works even for people with thin or weak corneas who do not qualify for LASIK
- No flap created in the cornea means no flap complications
- Suitable for athletes who might be at risk of eye trauma
PRK provides a level of vision correction similar to what LASIK achieves. An assessment of your eyes will determine which surgery will give you better results.
How Does PRK Work?
During PRK, numbing eye drops will ensure your comfort. Your surgeon will remove the cornea’s epithelial (outer) layers, then use a Zeiss MEL90 Excimer laser to reshape the cornea one layer at a time. This cool laser removes less than 20% of the corneal tissue, making precise changes to the shape so the light will enter the eye at a different angle. The epithelial layers of the cornea will heal on their own over the next few days.
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What is PRK Xtra?
Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL) can provide stability and help maintain PRK results for those with thin or weak corneas. CXL uses riboflavin (a B vitamin) applied to your cornea, then treated with UV light. This combination triggers strengthening and cross-linking of the collagen fibers in your cornea. CXL also helps people with keratoconus, a condition where the cornea weakens and bulges outward.
What is Recovery Like From PRK?
Your epithelial cells will regrow and cover the eye within a few days. You may notice light sensitivity, haziness, and dry eyes during this time. You will have eye drops to manage discomfort and promote optimal healing. Vision improves within days but can take several weeks to stabilize completely.
Am I a Good Candidate for PRK?
Only your surgeon can determine whether you will make a good candidate for PRK. The best candidates are in good health and have had a stable vision prescription for at least a year. PRK is a great option for people who do not qualify for LASIK.