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Specializing in LASIK and PRK
 
PRK (Surface Ablation)
 
LASIK Carlsbad Eye Doctor
 
PRK Eye Doctor  Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), also called Surface Ablation, is an outpatient laser vision correction surgery procedure, similar to LASIK.

PRK eye surgery uses an Excimer laser to reshape the cornea, and no blades are used.

PRK has been around since 1987 and is now the most popular vision corrective eye surgery today, along with LASIK, for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
 How does PRK work?
PRK Video
 
You may be familiar with the process behind LASIK surgery, but do you know how PRK surgery works? The procedure changes the shape of the cornea using a laser to remove thin layers of tissue at the front of the eye just like LASIK. However, the difference is that while LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea to reveal the corneal tissue underneath, PRK does not involve creating a flap. Instead, in PRK, the thin, outermost layer covering the cornea (called the epithelium) is brushed away, to reveal the corneal tissue underneath. The VISX excimer laser then reshapes the corneal tissue according to your prescription. Whereas in LASIK, the flap is laid back down on to the corneal bed and allowed to heal, in PRK, the epithelium is allowed to grow back and heal naturally, which takes about 3-7 days.

Since every eye is unique, Dr. Tracy maps your eyes during your consultation, and again before the procedure if appropriate. The PRK procedure itself takes about 10 minutes per eye. After PRK surgery, San Diego ophthalmologist Dr. Tracy applies a clear contact lens to protect the eye while the epithelium is allowed to heal. To avoid pain and swelling, Dr. Tracy will prescribe medications and eye drops.
 
Are You a PRK Candidate?
 
PRK is a great alternative to LASIK , especially if you are not considered a LASIK candidate due to thin corneas. The laser will be reshaping the cornea, so a certain amount of corneal tissue is required for the treatment to leave you with a sufficiently thick corneal bed. PRK is also a good alternative to LASIK for people who are active, as there is no risk of displacing a corneal flap.
 
Ideal candidates for PRK include:

•  Patients who are not candidates for LASIK because of corneal thickness
•  Patients with large pupils
•  Patients who have had previous eye surgery
Before and After PRK: What to Expect
PRK Eye Doctor  Dr. Tracy specializes in PRK Laser Eye Surgery.Dr. Tracy will perform a series of tests to make sure your eyes are healthy and that you are a good candidate for refractive surgery.

He will test for disqualifying conditions and ask questions about your health and lifestyle. Dr. Tracy will use a machine called a corneal topographer to electronically map your eye.

He will test your vision and determine your refractive error. If all of your tests appear normal, then you may choose to proceed with PRK.
 
After the surgery, Dr. Tracy will place a clear contact lens on the eye. This lens will be removed at your post-operative appointment about a week later. During this time, you will use eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation.

The day of your surgery, you need to have someone drive you home. The next day, you will also need someone to drive you to your 1-day post-op exam. You will need to take 2-4 days off work, depending on your rate of healing. You must follow your post-operative instructions, administering any eye drops when necessary.

You will be given eye shields or goggles to wear when sleeping for the first week to ensure that you don’t rub your eyes during sleep. Dr. Tracy will see you again in 1 week, to ensure that your epithelium has completely healed and to remove the contact lens. He will then see you at your 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month post-op visits.

knowing what to expect before and after PRK surgery can help you heal faster, safer, and more comfortably.
 
PRK FAQs

Q: Are there any risks involved with PRK?

A; There are always potential risks with any surgical procedure. During the refractive surgery evaluation process, risks and complications will be discussed in detail with Dr. Tracy. The most common risk of PRK is the development of corneal haze, but this is greatly reduced with the use of Mitomycin-C during the procedure.


Q: Will I have to wear glasses after surgery?

A: If you are over the age of 40, and thus presbyopic, you will need reading glasses if your procedure fixes both of your eyes for distance vision. People over the age of 40 may consider Monovision, in which one eye (usually the dominant eye) is fixed for distance vision, and the other eye is fixed for near vision. This will allow the patient to see both distance and near without glasses. Younger patients whose eyes are fixed for distance can accommodate to read. However, as they grow older, they will become presbyopic and will eventually need reading glasses.


Q: How long does the procedure take?

A: The actual procedure takes approximately 10 minutes per eye. Pre- and post-operative care will require that you be at the surgery center approximately one to two hours.


Q: When will my vision become clear and stable after surgery?

A: PRK takes a few days more to recover than after LASIK because the epithelium needs to grow back and heal. Typically, at 1 week, you will be at the point a post-LASIK patient would be after one or two days. In both LASIK and PRK, the vision continues to improve as the corneal tissue continues to heal over the next few weeks, and your vision will become more stable. In both LASIK and PRK, it may take up to 6 months for the vision to completely stabilize, depending on your age, the size of your treatment, whether the treatment was for myopia or hyperopia, and your individual healing rate.


Q: Is PRK surgery painful?

A: Your eye is numbed with eye drops, and you will feel minimal discomfort during the procedure.


Q: Will I experience pain immediately after surgery?

A: Patients may experience a gritty sensation with some light sensitivity, some discomfort, and tearing for approximately three to five days. Eye drops and medications are prescribed to relieve any potential pain.


Q: What will I experience after PRK surgery?

A: After PRK, you may experience glare and light sensitivity, which should improve in time. As the cornea continues to heal, vision should continue to improve.


Q: When can I return to work after surgery?

A: You can usually return to work in about 2-4 days after PRK, depending on your healing rate and amount of treatment.


Q: What should I expect for follow-up care after my PRK procedure?

A: You will have a post-op appointment the day after surgery. Then you will have follow-up visits at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months.


Q: Is PRK surgery painful?

A: Your eye is numbed with eye drops, and you will feel minimal discomfort during the procedure.
Q: Will I experience pain immediately after surgery?

A: Patients may experience a gritty sensation with some light sensitivity, some discomfort, and tearing for approximately three to five days. Eye drops and medications are prescribed to relieve any potential pain.


Q: What will I experience after PRK surgery?

A: After PRK, you may experience glare and light sensitivity, which should improve in time. As the cornea continues to heal, vision should continue to improve.


Q: When can I return to work after surgery?

A: You can usually return to work in about 2-4 days after PRK, depending on your healing rate and amount of treatment.


Q: What should I expect for follow-up care after my PRK procedure?

A: You will have a post-op appointment the day after surgery. Then you will have follow-up visits at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months.
 
LASIK SAN DIEGO
 
Contact a PRK Expert Today

Dr. Michael Tracy is a Board-certified ophthalmologist and an expert in refractive surgery, such as PRK and LASIK. If you are considering undergoing refractive surgery, don’t hesitate to call us at (760) 603-9910 to schedule your free LASIK or PRK consultation.
 
Contact Us
6183 Paseo Del Norte,
Suite 210
Carlsbad, CA 92011
P (760) 603-9910
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Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM
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