A form of Laser Vision Correction which uses a laser to reshape the cornea, correcting refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism without creating a flap. PRK was the first laser refractive procedure performed in the United States and the first to gain final FDA approval. While LASIK is more commonly performed than PRK today, PRK still represents a great option for patients who may not be ideal LASIK candidates due to thin or irregularly shaped corneas.
The primary difference between LASIK and PRK is that PRK does not involve the formation of a corneal flap, i.e it is a surface ablation technique.
How is it done ?
Numbing drops are administered so that the surgeon can operate on the eye without the patient feeling any pain.
The surgeon removes the outermost layer of cells, the epithelium.
Once the epithelial cells are removed, the excimer laser treatment is performed in the same way as LASIK. For LASIK as well as PRK, at Rushabh Eye Hospital & Laser Centre , we use the VISX STAR S4 IR Excimer laser, the first FDA approved Laser system with active Iris Recognition, which offers Standard as well as Custom/Wavefront Treatments.
This means you’ll receive laser vision correction with the highest caliber of safety and accuracy. Your eye’s individual reshaping is pre-determined and carefully calculated by measurements taken at your pre-operative appointment. Laser treatment of the cornea takes only a few seconds.
After the excimer laser treatment, the surgeon places a clear, soft contact lens, called a bandage contact lens, on the eye. These special bandage contact lenses do not contain any prescription correction, but simply protect the eye and keep the patient comfortable while the epithelial cells grow back.
The epithelium regenerates in approximately 72 to 96 hours; the bandage contact lens is typically removed by the doctor at a postoperative visit approximately five days after PRK.
What is the recovery after PRK ?
Recovery from PRK surgery is a little longer. For the first few days, while the corneal epithelium regenerates, PRK patients usually report hazy vision, some soreness, and light sensitivity. This typically clears up after the first few days, and most PRK patients are able to drive and return to work for or five days after surgery. Vision continues to improve over the course of the first few weeks after surgery, and by approximately the fourth week, vision is similar between PRK and LASIK patients.
Which procedure gives better vision – PRK or LASIK ?
Although the rate of recovery is different in each of the two procedures, LASIK having faster visual recovery, the end result is the same. One technique doesn’t give better vision than the other.
Why would a Doctor Recommend PRK vs LASIK ?
PRK is primarily recommended for patients who have thin corneas, have irregularities show up on their topography scans (e.g. irregular astigmatism), or are in professions that are not allowed to have LASIK.