PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK has been successfully performed for more than two decades. Originally approved by the FDA in 1995, the PRK procedure involves the use of an excimer laser to reshape the cornea in order to produce clearer vision. Although LASIK and PRK are both highly effective at treating refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, PRK is considered a more appropriate treatment choice for people with large pupils or thin corneas.
The PRK Procedure
Unlike LASIK, the PRK procedure—also available at our Fayetteville, North Carolina location—does not involve the use of a microkeratome or the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the surgeon gently removes the outer layer of the cornea (the epithelium) to expose the middle cornea to the laser.
A speculum is used to hold the eye open and prevent blinking during the procedure. To anesthetize the eye, the surgeon applies numbing eyedrops. The laser, preprogrammed with the patient’s prescription, is placed above the eye while the patient is directed to stare at a blinking light. The surgeon will use the laser to remove very small amounts of tissue to reshape the cornea for optimal vision. Once the procedure has been completed, the surgeon applies topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to prevent infection and promote healing. A bandage contact lens will then be applied. Typically, the entire PRK procedure takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes, and patients can leave after resting for a few minutes following surgery.
The epithelium of the eye will take several days to heal. Patients are instructed to continue wearing the bandage contact lens for approximately three days following the PRK procedure. Eyedrops to help with the healing process may be needed for as little as six weeks or as long as six months, depending on the severity of the preoperative refractive error.
Results of PRK are comparable to those of LASIK. Patients generally end up with 20/40 vision or better. However, with PRK, recovery time is longer and final results may not be seen for up to six months following surgery. With our LASIK surgeons, you can discuss which refractive surgery technique is most appropriate for you.
Contact Cape Fear Eye Associates for PRK Refractive Surgery
If you are interested in having your eyesight surgically corrected with PRK, our North Carolina eye centers serving Fayetteville and surrounding areas can help. To schedule a consultation with one of our ophthalmologists, contact Cape Fear Eye Associates today.