During photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), the surface cells of the cornea, called the corneal epithelium, are removed instead of creating a LASIK flap. The excimer laser is applied to reshape the cornea and correct vision. Visual outcomes are equally as impressive as with LASIK, however, the healing time tends to be longer.
Some patients, due to individual variations in the eye’s anatomy, may be better candidates for the PRK procedure. PRK is often recommended for patients’ with a thin cornea, high prescription or if topographic abnormalities are noted on the topography assessment. Upon evaluation, your surgeon will indicate which procedure is safest and best suited for you.
Similar to a LASIK procedure, PRK patients are required to stop wearing their contact lenses several days before surgery.
Prior to the procedure, several eye tests will be performed including a wavefront analysis and a topographic map of the cornea is created using specialized equipment. The surgeon uses this information to precisely locate and calculate the amount of corneal tissue to be removed by the laser.
Just before surgery, the eye is numbed with “eye drop” anesthesia, after which an eyelid speculum is put in place to hold the eyelid open.
The surface cells of the cornea (called the epithelium) are removed.
Next, cool rays of light from the Excimer Laser reshape the inner tissue of the cornea with up to .25 microns of accuracy. Often, only 50 microns of tissue (about the thickness of a human hair) are removed to achieve the proper amount of correction.
After the laser vision correction procedure, you should plan to rest for a period of 2-3 hours with your eyes closed. You should also use your eye drops as instructed.
Most patients receiving PRK experience mild light sensitivity and mild discomfort after PRK surgery.