Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
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What is Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)?
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a type of laser eye surgery used to correct refractive errors in individuals with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. In this procedure, similar to LASIK but without creating a flap or lifting a corneal layer, a laser is used to directly reshape the corneal surface to correct vision. PRK is more suitable for people with thinner corneas or specific corneal conditions, as it does not involve creating a corneal flap. Additionally, PRK avoids potential complications associated with flap creation.
PRK is performed by removing the surface layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium, and then using a laser to reshape the cornea. This reshaping process helps to reduce the curvature of the cornea for correcting myopia, steepen the cornea for hyperopia, or create a more spherical shape for astigmatism correction.
PRK can be a suitable alternative to LASIK, especially for individuals with thinner corneas or specific corneal conditions. This procedure has the advantage of avoiding flap-related complications.
PRK Laser Surgery Technique
The majority of the stages in PRK laser surgery are similar to LASIK surgery; however, the significant difference is that in LASIK, after the removal of a layer of the cornea (flap), a certain amount of tissue from the middle part of the cornea is reshaped with the laser, while in PRK laser surgery, laser energy is applied directly to the surface of the cornea.
Before the surgery, a comprehensive medical and eye examination is performed. Accurate refraction measurement is conducted to determine the eye’s prescription. For more precise measurements, eye drops are also used. A specialized optical map called “topography” or “orb scan” is prepared to assess the corneal optical status. The corneal thickness is measured using a method called “pachymetry.”
During the surgery, the eyelids and the area around the eyes are disinfected with an antiseptic solution (usually Betadine). The operating room technician instills numbing eye drops and antibiotics into your eyes several times to ensure you won’t feel pain or discomfort during the procedure. Afterward, you lie on the operating table, and the surgical microscope is positioned in front of your face.
The laser eye surgery is performed under the effect of topical anesthesia eye drops that numb the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva and cornea).
For photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery, is general anesthesia required, or is local anesthesia sufficient?
Laser eye surgery, including LASIK, is performed under the influence of local anesthesia administered through eye drops, which numbs the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva and the cornea).
Advantages of Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Recommendations and Preparations Before Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Surgery
Recommendations During Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Surgery
Post-Operative Care After Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Surgery
After the operation, you will have several follow-up appointments with your doctor. During these visits, your protective lens will be removed. You may experience some burning, tearing, discomfort, and blurry vision for a few days after the surgery. This is normal and your vision will gradually improve over time. It’s essential to get plenty of rest. Avoid rubbing your eyes for a month, and refrain from using eye makeup for two weeks. Do not let water get into your eyes for a day after the operation, and avoid swimming for four weeks. Wearing sunglasses on sunny days in the weeks following the surgery is recommended. Changes in your vision, such as blurriness, are normal after the surgery and will gradually resolve.