PRK, or Photo-Refractive Keratectomy, is approved to treat low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by removing tissue from the surface of the cornea. The outcome of PRK is similar to that of LASIK
, and most people achieve 20/20 or better vision with PRK.
During the PRK procedure, a patient’s eye is numbed using a topical, or eye drop, anesthesia. Then, Dr. Klein removes the epithelium, a thin layer of protective skin that covers the cornea. This may be done with a blade, a brush, or even the excimer laser, but most commonly is performed with a diluted alcohol solution. During the actual PRK procedure, the patient stares at a fixation light. In less than a minute, the laser removes the precise amount of tissue while it reshapes the surface of the cornea.
Immediately after PRK, a soft contact lens is placed on the eye while the cornea heals. Because the epithelium was removed, patients may experience blurry vision for three to five days after PRK and a moderate amount of discomfort until the epithelium heals and covers the treated area. Various eye drops and oral medications are effective in reducing this post-operative discomfort. Final visual results after PRK may not be fully realized anywhere from several days to a few weeks or more as the surface heals in accordance to each individual’s healing tendencies.