PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), aka Surface Ablation, is a laser
surgery procedure used to correct vision problems. Many people
have conditions like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia
(farsightedness), and astigmatism.
PRK refractive surgery
can correct these conditions and reduce one’s dependency on
glasses or contact lenses. PRK and LASIK, although similar, have
key differences. Dr. Tracy is a Board-certified ophthalmologist
in North County San Diego, who performs both PRK and LASIK to
correct a variety of vision problems.
How does PRK surgery work?
|You will have an initial
consultation with Dr. Tracy to see if you are a good candidate for PRK.
During this consultation, Dr. Tracy will dilate and examine your eyes,
measure your refractive errors, map your eyes using a corneal
topographer, and discuss your medical history with you. Everyone’s eyes
are different, so it’s important for Dr. Tracy to thoroughly measure
your eyes to determine if you are an eligible candidate for PRK surgery.
Certain factors like your age, if you take medications, if you are
pregnant, and if you have any diseases or medical conditions can affect
your candidacy for PRK. It’s best to address any medical issues or
concerns prior to surgery to ensure the best possible results.
you wear contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing them for at least
2 weeks prior to your consultation or your repeat testing appointment.
Contact lenses can distort your cornea, so it’s important to leave them
out for the required period of time to allow your cornea to return to
its natural shape before getting the final measurements taken of your
Unlike LASIK eye surgery, PRK does not involve cutting a
flap in the cornea. Instead, PRK eye surgery involves brushing away the
outermost layer of the cornea (called the epithelium), which reveals the
underlying corneal tissue. Then the VISX Excimer laser reshapes the
corneal tissue to correct the refractive error and astigmatism,
according to your prescription. Overall, the PRK procedure itself takes
about 10 minutes per eye. After the procedure, a bandage contact lens is
placed on the eye, to protect the epithelium as it heals. Typically, the
epithelium grows back in about 3 days. After the epithelium has grown
back and healed, the doctor will remove the bandage contact lens.
|What to Expect After PRK
|On the date of
your surgery, you will need someone to drive you home. The following
day, you will also need someone to drive you to your 1-day post-op exam.
You will need to take antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to
prevent infection and swelling. You will also be prescribed pain
medication, in case you experience any pain during the recovery period.
You will be asked to refrain from strenuous activity for a week,
although you may resume normal activity as soon as you feel comfortable.
You may experience light sensitivity for about a week, though this
usually improves after the initial recovery period of 3-4 days. Eye
shields will be given to you to wear while sleeping so that you avoid
accidentally rubbing your eyes while sleeping.
For the following
few weeks, you will continue using anti-inflammatory eye drops in
addition to over-the-counter artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) to
keep your eyes healthy. It is important to use artificial tears to avoid
dry eyes, because dry eyes can lead to regression of your eyes (where
your cornea partially returns to its pre-surgery shape). You will need
to keep your follow-up appointments, so that the doctor can make sure
your eyes are healing well. If you have any issues or questions during
your PRK recovery, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Tracy.
|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.