Though LASIK is the most popular laser correction procedure, it's not right for everyone. If you're not a good candidate for LASIK, PRK may be an effective alternative that will help you restore clear, sharp vision.
Two types of patients who may not be considered for LASIK are those with thin corneas or pupils that are too large. Patients with thin corneas may experience complications in the creation of the corneal flap during LASIK, and patients with large pupils may see starbursts or halos at night after LASIK. PRK nullifies both of these potential, but rare, side effects.
The best way to determine whether PRK is the right fit for you is to visit our ophthalmologists for a comprehensive eye evaluation. Please call 845-454-1025 today to schedule your free consultation at one of our offices, conveniently serving Poughkeepsie and the entire Hudson Valley area.
What Is The Difference Between PRK Eye Surgery and LASIK?
Both PRK and LASIK may benefit those who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. Both are ambulatory surgeries, meaning you can walk into and out of your procedure the same day. Both use an excimer laser. The main difference between the two is that PRK does not create a hinged flap in the cornea like LASIK does.
Instead, PRK removes the surface layer of the eye, called the epithelium, to get to the corneal tissue beneath it. After surgery, the surface will heal on its own. Though LASIK recovery may not take as long and discomfort may be more likely with PRK due to the regrowth of the epithelial cells, both surgeries can permanently correct vision.
Is PRK Safer Than LASIK?
Because there is no need for a corneal flap during PRK, the risk of flap complications is eliminated with this type of laser vision correction. This can make PRK a safer choice for people who may be at greater risk for complications following LASIK surgery. While PRK enjoys fewer complications and risks, the technology and techniques used to sculpt corneal tissue and improve vision is identical with PRK and LASIK.
How Does The PRK Procedure Work?
Your PRK surgery will take only a few minutes. During the surgery, anesthetic drops are put into your eyes to prevent discomfort and a special cup is placed to keep the eye being worked on immobilized. Once this has been achieved, an excimer laser is used to gently sculpt the cornea for improved visual acuity.
Unlike LASIK, there is no blade used at all during PRK eye surgery. The excimer laser removes the surface layer of the eye, and the cornea is reshaped based on the mapping done during wavefront diagnosis.
Is Photorefractive Keratectomy Painful?
You will not feel any discomfort during your procedure thanks to the numbing drops placed before it begins. During the recovery phase, however, PRK may be slightly more uncomfortable than LASIK.
Epithelial cells removed from the cornea during PRK will need to regenerate, and this can take some time. During this time, redness, itchiness, and other mild irritation may be unavoidable. Your eye surgeon should provide you with both medications and instructions to help ease any discomfort and assist in the most rewarding recovery possible.
What Is Recovery Like After PRK?
Following PRK, a special contact lens that will act as a bandage will be placed over the eye. It is advisable to take at least two to three days to relax as vision begins to improve. It can take three or more days for the initial benefits provided by PRK to be realized. It may take three months or more for vision to completely stabilize. Be patient and follow all of your surgeon’s advice to help reduce risks.
Most people are able to resume working within a few days, but strenuous activities will need to be avoided for a few weeks at least. During this time and after, sunglasses should be worn when outside during the day – even if there is no bright sunlight.
Is Photorefractive Keratectomy Permanent?
PRK is a highly effective way to regain your vision. Though it may take a little while longer to recover, it has been reported that over 95% percent of PRK patients are able to see without the aid of glasses three months after their surgery.
PRK permanently reshapes corneal tissue to address refractive errors including hyperopia and myopia. Once the cornea has been reshaped, these issues should be permanently addressed. However, presbyopia, the gradual hardening of the eye’s natural lens, is an unavoidable part of aging and, even with LASIK, it may be possible that you need glasses to read as time progresses.
Am I a Good PRK Candidate?
PRK is a good solution for people who are interested in permanent vision correction without the risks associated with LASIK. It may also be a suitable alternative for people who have been told they are not good LASIK candidates due to corneal thickness or pupil size, but is not just an alternative to LASIK. Older and more thoroughly researched than LASIK, PRK stands on its own as a safe and effective vision correction treatment.
PRK addresses refractive errors to help provide freedom from prescription eyewear. If you have been diagnosed with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you may be a good candidate for the procedure. The best way to find out for sure is through a one-on-one consultation with one of the PRK surgeons at Seeta Eye Centers. Our board-certified ophthalmologists have the resources, experience, and dedication to help you achieve optimal vision. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more.