Eye Health: PRK - Laser Refractive Surgery

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Laser refractive surgery is constantly advancing with new technology. If you’re looking to get rid of glasses and contacts, there are three types of laser eye surgeries available: photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), LASIK and SMILE. All three of these laser refractive surgeries reshape the front part of the eye called the cornea and are treated by a ophthalmologists.

What is PRK?

Photorefractive keratectomy was the first laser refractive surgery, and it’s still performed today. PRK can correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. During PRK laser eye surgery, the ophthalmologist removes the epithelium (the surface of the eye) and applies an excimer laser to resurface, blade or vaporize the tissue on the surface of the cornea. There’s a longer recovery time after the PRK procedure compared to SMILE or LASIK. Patients require a bandaged contact lens, because the epithelium has been removed. It can take six to eight weeks for your vision to fully recover. The side effects from PRK can include dry eyes and glaring halos at night. Occasionally patients can develop some haze, which may give you some halos in the short term right after surgery, but often with some steroid drops this will go away.

Other Types of Laser Eye Surgery

During the LASIK procedure, the eye surgeon uses a thin blade laser to cut a flap of the cornea instead of removing the epithelium. The ophthalmologist lifts the flap up, applies the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and puts the flap back down. SMILE laser eye surgery involves using a femtosecond laser to cut a little wafer of tissue inside the cornea and remove it through a very small incision. With SMILE and LASIK laser eye procedures, the recovery time is shorter with minimal pain or discomfort. You may experience slight dryness and irritation, but usually these symptoms don’t last long. If you consult with an ophthalmologist about laser refractive surgery, he or she will ensure that your cornea is thick enough and that you don’t have any abnormal curvatures.

Talk to your  ophtholomogist eye doctor if you'd like more information on PRK. 

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Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  • PRK can correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

  • During PRK laser eye surgery, the ophthalmologist removes the epithelium (the surface of the eye) and applies an excimer laser to resurface, blade or vaporize the tissue on the surface of the cornea.

  • There’s a longer recovery time after the PRK procedure compared to SMILE or LASIK. It can take six to eight weeks for your vision to fully recover.

  • Patients require a bandaged contact lens following the procedure, because the epithelium has been removed.

  • The side effects from PRK can include dry eyes and glaring halos at night.

Adherence:
Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

  Healthy eyes depend on regular visits to your optometrist for eye exams, and if necessary, an ophthalmologist for certain eye conditions and surgeries like diabetic retinopathy . You can also protect your eyesight with proper nutrition, eating foods that contain the right vitaminsLocal Optometrists may prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, provide laser eye surgery consultations, and test for diseases.  Local Ophthalmologist  can help with many facts of eye diseases. Getting a referral from your optometrist to a local ophthalmologist is crucial to eye care.

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