(photorefractive keratectomy) was at one time the most common laser
eye surgery performed. It uses the same excimer laser as the
LASIK procedure to reshape the outer cornea to correct
nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. While LASIK
is the more commonly performed procedure, PRK offers the same visual
results for those patients who cannot undergo LASIK surgery.
to Consider PRK:
to reduce or eliminate dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses
too thin or atypical for LASIK
the procedure, the surgeon first administers a local anesthetic via
eye drops so that the patient does not feel pain during the surgery.
An eyelid speculum is then placed over the eye to prevent the
patient from blinking. Next, the surgeon gently removes the
epithelial (superficial skin) cells from the outer layer of the
cornea. Next, the excimer laser, custom programmed with the
patient's eye, reshapes the corneal tissue with quick pulses of
concentrated light. This process usually takes less than one
minute. Once this is complete, the doctor places a bandage
contact lens on the eye and the surgery is complete.
patient may go home shortly after the procedure, however, someone
else must drive or alternative transportation must be arranged.
Patients will be asked to rest the majority of the first few
days, avoiding any strenuous activities, and avoiding rubbing the eye
area for a period of time. There is a follow-up appointment
with the surgeon the day after the procedure and then four to five
days following the procedure for removal of the bandage contact
lenses. Most patients are able to resume regular activities
approximately three days following the surgery although it may take
up to one to three months to achieve their optimal vision. The
final visual outcome is comparable to the results achieved with LASIK
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