What is PRK?
Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a laser refractive eye surgery that is intended to correct vision, and eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses. PRK has been performed for over 20 years and is an FDA approved procedure. The first PRK procedure was successfully performed in 1987 in Berlin, Germany. PRK uses a laser to reshape the cornea without creating a corneal flap. Reshaping the cornea is what corrects the vision, by correcting the cornea angle, conditional to the type of vision correction that is needed.
PRK vs. LASIK
The first difference between PRK and LASIK is in the procedure process. PRK does not need to create a flap of the cornea, so this surgical technique may be a good option for those that have thin corneas and might not be a good candidate for LASIK. With LASIK, the first step is to create a flap on the cornea, to give the EXCIMER laser access to the corneal stoma of the eye. Next, the laser then works to reshape the cornea, which then corrects vision, either by making flattening the cornea or by making a steeper angle of the cornea, depending if the vision correction is for near or farsightedness.
LASIK is Not Right for Everyone
While LASIK is the most popular type of refractive vision correction, not all individuals are good candidates for the procedure. Those with thin corneas and dry eyes might be better suited for a PRK treatment. There are a few types of individuals that are not recommended for LASIK surgery:
- Too thin of cornea
- Too large of pupils
- Too strong of a contact or glasses prescription
- Presence of other eye conditions, such as dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts
While the above conditions may limit one from getting LASIK, it does not necessarily mean that surgical options for vision correction do not exist. The best way to determine if you are a candidate for laser vision correction is by having a consultation and eye exam.
LASIK and PRK Recovery Times
The biggest difference between PRK and LASIK is the recovery time. With LASIK, most patients return to work the day following their procedure. There is no pain associated with LASIK and the procedure is quick. PRK has a longer recovery process. Typically, the first 3-4 days after the PRK procedure there can be discomfort, dry eyes and foreign body sensation. After the first few days, the bandages are removed, at which point the vision should be pretty good. The vision can continue to improve for up to a month.
Benjamin Eye is More than Just LASIK
At Benjamin Eye Institute, we see each patient as an individual. One size does not fit all -especially when it comes to vision correction – and LASIK may not be appropriate for everyone. Dr. Benjamin works with each patient to customize a vision correction plan, even If someone isn’t a candidate for LASIK. It is your eyesight, and you should be comfortable with the procedure you are about to embark upon.
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