PRK ( Photorefractive Keratectomy )

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PRK ( Photorefractive Keratectomy )

Also known as PRK, this type of laser eye surgery can help if you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. It works best if your eye problem is mild or moderate.

All laser vision correction surgeries work by reshaping your cornea, the clear front part of your eye. Think of it like a windshield — light travels through it just and  focuses on the retina in the back of your eye.During PRK, an eye surgeon uses a cool pulsing beam of ultraviolet light on the surface of your cornea. LASIK, another type of laser surgery, works underneath your cornea.

Pros

It’s highly accurate in correcting many cases of nearsightedness. Most people have 20/20 or at least 20/40 vision without glasses or contact lenses one year after the surgery.

Cons

It isn’t a walk in the park. You might have:

  • Mild discomfort, including minor eye irritation and watering, for 1 to 3 days after the procedure.
  • A longer recovery time. People who get LASIK notice improvements in less than a month. With PRK it can take 1 to3 months.
  • A need for glasses.

Side Effects

You’ll have mild discomfort in the first 24 to 72 hours after surgery. You might be sensitive to light for a while, too. Within the first 6 months you might also notice that you need eyeglasses for improved vision.

photorefractive keratectomy

How Do I Prepare?

First you’ll meet with an eye surgeon or a coordinator who to talk about what you should expect during and after surgery. She’ll discuss your medical history and check your eyes. Likely tests include:

  • Corneal thickness measure
  • Refraction
  • Corneal mapping
  • Eye pressure check

After that, your surgeon will answer any questions you have. Then you’ll schedule your surgery.

If you wear contacts, you’ll need to stop for a while before the evaluation:

  • Gas permeable: 3 weeks
  • Other types: 3 days

On the day of surgery, eat a light meal before going in, and take all of your prescribed medications. Don’t wear eye makeup or bulky hair accessories that will make it hard to place your head under the laser. If you don’t feel well that morning, call the doctor’s office to find out if the procedure needs to be postponed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between PRK and LASIK?
How do I decide between PRK and LASIK?
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Does the procedure hurt?
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