PRK was the first and original laser refractive surgical procedure approved by the FDA.
It was a remarkable breakthrough and it has stood the test of time as far as being safe and effective.
It is still used extensively today, especially if treating far-sightedness. The advantage it has over
LASIK is that no corneal flap is made so all of the possible complications related to the creating and
healing of a corneal flap are eliminated. It also takes less time than LASIK. The disadvantage of PRK
is that the vision recovers more slowly and there is usually a little more discomfort during the first
day or two of healing. The long-term results of the two procedures are remarkably similar and Customized
Wavefront Technology (CWT) guiding is available for both.
PRK may be recommended instead of LASIK in a number of circumstances:
- if the level of near-sightedness is minimal to low
- if the patient is far-sighted
- if the cornea is too thin to accommodate LASIK
- if a long term LASIK patient needs an enhancement
No corneal flap is made so the procedure is done directly on
the corneal surface and it takes only 5-10 minutes per eye. CWT scanning
is done first and then a small dose of Valium is given to relax the patient.
Drops are used to anesthetize the eye and the patient is positioned under the
excimer laser. A lid speculum is inserted between the eyelids and a rotating
brush is used to remove the surface tissue called the epithelium. The cornea
is reshaped using the excimer laser with CWT guidance and then a bandage contact
lens is placed on the cornea. This facilitates healing and keeps the eye comfortable.
The contact lens is usually removed after three days. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory
drops are used for several days to two weeks following the procedure.
In summary, even though PRK is an original technology, it is still quite useful
and is indicated over LASIK in a number of circumstances. Dr. Hendricks will help you decide
if it would be advantageous in your particular situation.