Photorefractive Keratectomy Surgery

The Original Laser Eye Surgery

PRK or photorefractive keratectomy was used to be known as the most common refractive surgery procedure before the well known LASIK was developed as a more popular alternative.

Photorefractive Keratectomy VS LASIK

Both these procedures are classified under the Laser Eye Surgery category but we must take note that there are differences when it comes to their advantages and disadvantages.

With LASIK there is less discomfort and the result for good vision is quicker to be obtained. PRK on the other hand, will take a few days, weeks or even months before good vision is restored.

During Photorefractive Keratectomy Surgery

PRK is done with the use of an excimer laser, a tool that uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to accurately remove very tiny bits of tissue from the surface of the cornea for reshaping. Reshaping the cornea early and in the right way, will precisely focus more light into the eye and onto the retina and this will provide a clearer vision.

Both shortsighted and longsighted people can benefit from PRK. With shortsighted people, the goal is to flatten the too-steep cornea; with longsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Also, excimer lasers can correct astigmatism, by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.

Before PRK Surgery

The first step to take when you are considering a PRK surgery is to find the right surgeon. Your doctor will make a thorough examination in your eyes to properly determine the kind of vision correction procedure you really need and how much ablation is needed.

The right doctor will ask a lot of questions especially questions that are in connection with your medical condition. There are some conditions that will probably disqualify a patient for a PRK surgery.

During PRK Surgery

Photorefractive Keratectomy surgery is an outpatient procedure; you walk into the surgery room and walk home as soon as you can. The procedure itself will only take a few minutes and you will not even be asleep.

The procedure is in most cases painless; the eyes are anesthetized with special drops prior to the procedure. The doctor will then ask you to lie down to make sure your eye is positioned directly under the laser. Only one eye can undergo PRK at one time. A kind of retainer is placed under your eyelids to keep them open; this could be the most uncomfortable part of the entire procedure.

The doctor will make use of a computer to adjust the laser for your particular prescription. You will be asked to look at a target light for a short time while the surgeon watches your eye through a microscope; this is to ensure the correct position while the laser sends pulses of light to your cornea that will painlessly remove the tissue. It is vital that you keep your gaze fixed on that target light in order to get the best results.

The laser machine will make a steady clicking sound as the laser works on reshaping your cornea, and there may be a slight odor during the tissue removal.

The greater the severity of your condition, the more time the surgery will take. But even for high prescriptions, this laser treatment generally takes less than a minute.