PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy and is grouped together with LASIK in the category of corrective laser eye surgery. Since the FDA approved PRK in 1995, PRK has been used with high success rates on patients seeking improved vision.
Our skilled doctors and ophthalmologists at Susskind and Almallah Eye Associates have performed thousands of successful eye surgeries, including PRK and other corrective surgeries, on our patients in New Jersey. PRK and LASIK, while both in the same category of surgery, differ slightly in their advantages and disadvantages. Our doctors can recommend which surgery might work best for you. Call 732-349-5622 today for your initial vision correction consultation.
What Is PRK?
PRK is performed with an instrument called an excimer laser that sculpts the cornea for those with mild myopia, or nearsightedness and hyperopia, or farsightedness. The excimer laser is able to remove small cell layers without damaging surrounding cells, which in turn allows for a high level of precision.
Because of the technique involved, PRK does not necessitate any cutting of the cornea or the creation of a corneal flap, such as in the LASIK procedure. The sculpting of the cornea with the excimer laser helps to reshape it in such a way that it works better to focus light into your eye, improving your vision.
Who Is a Good Candidate for PRK?
While many people with myopia, or nearsightedness, can benefit from PRK, it has also been shown to help those with hyperopia, or farsightedness. We screen our patients diligently to determine if PRK would be an effective procedure for them if LASIK is not a viable option.
To qualify you will need to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be in good ocular health
- Have a stable prescription with no noticeable changes in the last two years
- Have no health condition that could complicate the procedure such as corneal ulcerations, ocular diseases, or systematic disorders
- Have reasonable and realistic expectations about results and possible risks of the procedure
How Do I Prepare for the PRK Procedure?
If you are undergoing a PRK procedure, you’ll need to take a few steps to prepare. At our office, you will receive a detailed list of instructions to follow.
If you are prescribed any medicated eye drops to assist with your recovery, make sure to fill the prescription in the days before the procedure. Having your medication on hand makes it easier to go straight home for your recovery with no additional hassle.
If you wear contact lenses, it’s best to stop doing so for several days or weeks before your appointment. This can prevent potential irritation or dryness in the eyes as well as changes to your eye shape. On the day of your surgery, eat a regular meal, but avoid any excess caffeine. Make sure to wash your face thoroughly and avoid wearing makeup or skin creams.
What Is the Recovery and Aftercare for the PRK Procedure?
Immediate recovery from a PRK procedure lasts up to ten days. You’ll need to take pain medication for moderate pain. You may be prescribed medicated eye drops. Over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen may also help.
Ensure that you do not remove the bandage protecting your cornea. The dressing must be removed by one of the experienced surgeons at our practice. It is usually safe for the surgeon to remove after five days.
You should be able to work and resume most activities after a week, but your vision will continue to be compromised for up to a month. Any activities you engage in should be safe and not cause any significant strain to your vision. Avoid using makeup and face creams on the healing eye for up to four weeks.
Will I Need to Wear Sunglasses After PRK?
During recovery following PRK surgery, you’ll need to be extremely careful with your eyes. When outside, wear sunglasses with UV protection. If you plan on doing activities such as yard work or swimming, you’ll need to wear specialized goggles designed to protect your eyes from debris that may interrupt the healing process.
The knowledgeable doctors at our practice can help you identify appropriate eyewear to use following a PRK procedure.
Are There Any Risks Associated with PRK?
If you are recommended to undergo PRK surgery, you’ll likely obtain more benefits from the procedure than significant concerns. However, in some cases, patients experience side effects from their PRK surgery. The most common side effects include:
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Loss of vision that can’t be corrected with the use of glasses or contacts
- Changes to night vision, including halos or glares
- Vision that declines over time
Before you undergo the PRK procedure, our trained surgeons will discuss any risks you may encounter due to the treatment.
Are the Results of PRK Surgery Permanent?
Results from PRK surgery are permanent. People who undergo the procedure often experience significant improvement in their vision. However, surgery cannot prevent the natural aging process. In some cases, your vision may decrease over time as changes to your vision occur.
The actual PRK procedure itself is relatively quick; in fact, most patients are surprised at how fast they are finished. PRK is an outpatient procedure with no pain due to anesthetic drops being placed in the eyes. The actual procedure takes approximately one minute (per eye) of treatment on average, but can be longer or shorter depending on your prescription.
When the surgery is complete you will be allowed to have someone drive you home. PRK improvement is more gradual than LASIK, with full results taking a few days or weeks to be seen. Potential side effects should be discussed with your eye surgeon; however, the most common side effect is dry eyes.
If you are interested in learning more about PRK and you live in Monmouth or Ocean Counties, New Jersey please contact Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates by calling 732-349-5622 for a consultation.