PRK: An Alternative to LASIK
Before doctors perfected LASIK’s corneal flap method in the last decade, the laser vision correction of choice was PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy. This procedure has also been called LASEK. Our surgeons offer this procedure as an alternative for patients who can’t have LASIK due to thin corneas, loose corneal surface cells, or corneal irregularity. Like LASIK, it uses an excimer laser to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK, PRK/LASEK is performed on the surface of the cornea, rather than on the inner corneal layers.
How to Prepare for Your PRK/LASEK Procedure
During PRK/LASEK surgery, our skilled doctors use computer-controlled pulses of ultraviolet light to vaporize very thin layers of corneal tissue. Though the changes are microscopic, they are enough to sufficiently flatten the cornea (for patients with nearsightedness), steepen the cornea (for farsightedness), and/or smooth out corneal irregularities (for astigmatism). The surgery itself takes about one minute per eye.
The surgeons at SightMD will examine your eyes before surgery to determine how much laser ablation (or tissue removal) you require. To do this, we use the iDESIGN WaveScan System to analyze the eye and create a “map” of your unique visual system. Using this information, we are able to create a computerized guide that precisely directs the PRK laser when our eye doctor surgically reshapes your cornea.
What to Expect During PRK/LASEK
Upon arrival at our office on the day of your surgery, we will administer eye drops to numb the area as well as antibiotic eye drops and a prescription medication to calm your nerves. Once you are properly anesthetized, we’ll gently place a speculum on your eye to ensure that it stays open during the procedure. The laser is used to gently reshape the cornea. The laser automatically tracks and centers on your eye. This adds to the safety of the procedure.
The Healing Process: After PRK/LASEK
Recovery times vary among our patients. Some can resume their daily activities within 24 hours, while others must take it easy for about a week. Unfortunately, we cannot predict how you will respond to PRK, but our skilled doctors will advise you on ways to make the healing process as comfortable as possible.