If you are not a candidate for LASIK eye surgery, PRK could be an option to consider. PRK was FDA approved before LASIK eye surgery and is a form of laser vision correction that may have potential benefits for you. PRK is a refractive eye surgery procedure that uses the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and improve farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.
The light rays are more easily focused upon the retina once the cornea has flattened. PRK differs from LASIK in that no flap of tissue is created prior to resculpting the cornea with the excimer laser. In LASIK, this flap creation does allow a faster recovery period.
Once the eye has been numbed with anesthetic drops, the procedure can be performed. A speculum will be positioned to hold your eyelids back so that your eyelids will not interrupt the actual surgery. The ophthalmologist will then remove the outer cornea cells and proceed with the actual laser treatment. The laser is then positioned to directly treat the cornea. This process usually takes less than one minute to complete for most patients. Once the laser treatment or refractive ablation is completed, the corneal curvature is reshaped, and this improves the refractive error. Then the ophthalmologist will place a bandage contact lens on the eye to improve comfort along with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops.
After PRK surgery, our patients will be re-evaluated one day, three days, one week, one month, two to three months, and four to six months following the PRK procedure. The bandage contact lens can usually be removed on the second or third post-operative day when the epithelium is healed. Most patients will only require eye drops to control healing during the first 6 to 12 weeks, but other patients may require topically applied medications for up to 6 months or more following the procedure. The greater the refractive error, the more likely the patient is to require eye drop medications for a prolonged period of time following the procedure.