You have several options when it comes to treating nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism and achieving clear vision. One option is PRK or photorefractive keratectomy.
PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery and predated blade-free, all-laser LASIK. A safe and effective procedure, PRK is often an excellent choice for people who have been told they are not ideal LASIK candidates.
At Griffin & Reed Eye Care, we want our patients to feel informed about their options for vision enhancement. Our experienced laser vision correction surgeons will thoroughly exam your eyes and help guide you toward the right procedure for your unique visual needs.
If you want to learn more about PRK, please call 916-485-2020 to schedule a consultation. We happily welcome patients from all parts of Northern California at our Sacramento and Roseville locations.
What is PRK Eye Surgery?
PRK is a type of laser vision correction surgery that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995. Today, this procedure is commonly performed to correct refractive vision errors in individuals who are not ideal candidates for LASIK.
PRK can correct refractive vision errors such as:
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, roughly 90 percent of people experience 20/40 vision or better after PRK. This surgery may reduce or eliminate your need for glasses and contacts.
Am I a Candidate for PRK?
Generally speaking, ideal PRK candidates:
- Are 18 or older
- Have had a consistent vision prescription for the last year
- Have healthy eyes
- Do not have a disease that may impair healing
You may choose PRK over LASIK if you have thin corneas that cannot accommodate the creation of a flap, corneal scars, or another factor that disqualifies you from LASIK surgery. Our laser eye surgeons will discuss these considerations during your consultation.
LASIK vs PRK
The main difference between LASIK and PRK is the creation of the corneal flap. During a LASIK procedure, our surgeons create a flap on the surface of the cornea using the Ziemer Z4 femtosecond laser. This flap allows our surgeons to access the deeper layers of the cornea, where they reshape it with the Alcon WaveLight® EX500 laser according to your specific treatment plan.
During a PRK procedure, our surgeons will remove the outer layer of cells on the cornea, called the epithelium, instead of creating a flap. While this may sound intimidating, the cells actually grow back within a few days. After the cells are removed, the deeper layer of the cornea is reshaped to correct visual errors.
Aside from these differences, the two procedures are quite similar. During LASIK and PRK you can expect that:
- Numbing drops will be applied to your eyes to minimize any potential discomfort.
- Your eyes will be gently held open with a device that prevents you from blinking during the surgery.
- You will stare at a focus light that helps your eyes maintain the proper alignment.
- The procedure will last approximately 15 minutes.
When performed by experienced laser eye surgeons using state-of-the-art technology, PRK can offer the same visual outcome as LASIK. However, you will experience a longer recovery time after PRK than after LASIK due to the removal of the epithelium.
New post-operative medications and special bandage contact lenses are quite effective in treating the potential discomfort experienced by some PRK patients. Our team has found that:
- Nearly 80% of patients experience no discomfort after surgery.
- About 18% experience a scratchy feeling comparable to having an eyelash underneath a contact lens.
- 2% of PRK patients experience discomfort that can be aided by new medications.
With PRK, your eyes may be a bit watery or light sensitive for a few weeks following surgery. The greatest visual fluctuations occur during the first week while the surface cells are re-growing on the cornea. Your vision may take up to a month to stabilize.
It is for these reasons that we prefer to perform LASIK over PRK surgery at Griffin & Reed Eye Care when possible. However, PRK is still a very effective method of laser vision correction for the right individuals. Our PRK patients tend to agree that improved vision is worth the recovery period.
Schedule Your PRK Consultation Today
Our laser vision correction surgeons can determine your candidacy for PRK during an in-office consultation. Schedule your consultation by calling 916-485-2020 today. We welcome patients from across Northern California at our Sacramento and Roseville locations.