PRK (Photorefractive Keratotomy)
PRK is an option for patients who wish to undergo refractive surgery to correct refractive errors but are not good candidates for LASIK. Many individuals who have thin corneas or have had previous refractive surgery are poor candidates for LASIK, but can safely undergo PRK. Corneal scarring, corneal dystrophies and history of recurrent corneal erosion are all conditions which make PRK a better option than LASIK.
PRK is a variation of LASIK, differing in that Dr. Lipsky does not create a corneal flap. Instead, the surface skin cells (corneal epithelium) are gently removed, and the cornea is treated by the same WaveFront-guided VISX Star S4T Excimer Laser.
After this procedure, a contact lens is placed on the eye and left in place for five to seven days, allowing the surface cells to grow back under the contact lens.
Most adults are good candidates for PRK. In order to undergo PRK, patients must be over 18 and have stable vision for at least one year before surgery. People are best suited for Photorefractive Keratectomy are people with moderate levels of myopia or hyperopia who have corneal abnormalities that make them not best suited for LASIK. However PRK may also be used for people with high prescription levels and for active military personnel. PRK is the procedure of choice of the United States military for Special Forces units.
Recovery from PRK
The biggest disadvantage that PRK has compared to LASIK eye surgery is that it takes longer to recover after the PRK procedure. Recovery is also somewhat more uncomfortable for PRK patients than it is for LASIK patients.
The corneal epithelium must re-grow, and while it does, recovering patients will need to wear protective contact lenses. Dr. Lipsky also requires that his patients use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops during recovery. During this time, patients may also experience fluctuating vision as this tissue heals. This is normal, and vision should stabilize over time.
If you are searching for an alternative to LASIK eye surgery, undergoing the PRK procedure may be the ideal solution.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a vision correction procedure which uses a laser to reshape the cornea. PRK takes just a few minutes and is done under topical anesthesia (numbing eye drops).
– Patients whose corneas are too thin for LASIK
– Athletes who may have a possibility for eye trauma
– Patients who may have a physically active lifestyle
– Patients with certain corneal diseases
– Patients with a certain degree of dry eyes
– Patients concerned about a corneal flap
– Patients who have had previous eye surgery, such as RK, LASEK or LASIK.
We will require that you have someone drive you home from your procedure. However, you may drive when you feel comfortable enough to safely do so.
Once your vision allows and your eyes are comfortable enough, you can resume all activities except for swimming which you should avoid for 2 weeks. You should also avoid dirty or dusty environments for 2 weeks. We recommend no eye make-up for 1 week.
Both procedures use the excimer laser to reshape the cornea. The difference is in the preliminary phase of the procedure. In PRK, the cells of the surface of the cornea are gently removed and the laser treatment is then performed. In LASIK, a thin flap is created on the surface of the cornea. The flap is then lifted and the laser treatment is applied. In general, LASIK provides quicker and more comfortable recovery. PRK involves less risk and is more appropriate for those with certain corneal conditions or career choices.
PRK takes about 10 to 15 minutes per eye. You will be at the surgery center for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours.