Lasik Q & A

Prk Laser Eye Surgery Is Still Preferred by Some Surgeons

PRK, the original eye surgery first performed in Germany in 1987, is still preferred by some surgeons today. The PRK and LASIK vision results are comparable, but the procedures are somewhat different. PRK, or Photorefractive keratectomy, is a procedure that involves reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser; this procedure is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. No incisions in the cornea are used during the PRK procedure, unlike during LASIK procedure.

If you are thinking about getting PRK eye surgery you will need to qualify for the surgery first, and there are a few questions that you should ask your doctor. PRK will only be effective for persons who are within a certain range of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism; your eye doctor can perform an examination to see if you qualify for this type of surgery. Additionally, it is important to know that not all PRK excimer lasers are FDA approved to correct farsightedness. You will need to ask your potential surgeon if the laser being used is FDA approved to treat your condition; the surgeon does not have to provide you with this information unless you ask first.

PRK is considered to be an elective type of surgery, and patients need to be aware of what to expect from the surgery and the risks involved. While PRK and LASIK results are comparable, PRK does take longer to recover from. The surgery itself takes less than one minute for each eye. Numbing drops are applied to the eye first. After the cornea is sculpted, the surgeon will apply a bandage contact lens on each eye for comfort and protection; anti- inflammatory and antibiotic drops are given to the patient as well. Patient evaluations are conducted for approximately three times during the first week, then once a month intervals. The protective bandage contact lens is usually removed two to three days after surgery. Depending on how much correction of the cornea was needed, drops may be prescribed for 3-6 months after the procedure. Vision improves gradually, though patients should not drive a car until two to three weeks after the surgery; optimum visual results are obtained as the cornea heals and may take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months.

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