Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK, is performed at our Virginia-based practice for patients who are not suitable candidates for LASIK. A highly effective alternative to LASIK, PRK is especially useful when resolving low degrees of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
Unlike LASIK, in which a hinged flap is created on the outer layer of the cornea, the corneal epithelium, PRK completely removes the corneal epithelium before reshaping the corneal tissue. Prior to the procedure, our doctor numbs the cornea with topical anesthetic drops. Our physician then ablates the entire corneal epithelium with a cool, ultraviolet excimer laser. Next the computer-controlled excimer laser makes the appropriate adjustments needed to rectify the refractive error. After the surgery, the patient must wear a bandage or special contact lenses to assist with proper regeneration of the corneal epithelium. Our doctor will also prescribe antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory drops that prevent infections and reduce the likelihood of any post-operative complications.
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Because the procedure completely removes the outer layer of the cornea, patients who undergo PRK should expect a longer healing time. It takes between three to five days for complete regrowth of the corneal epithelium. Furthermore, improved visual acuity returns to PRK recipients slower than with LASIK. However, the long-term improvements associated with either PRK or LASIK are practically identical.
There are a variety of reasons why one of our physicians may recommend PRK over other treatments for our patients. In general, PRK is preferred over other treatments when the patient has any one of the following conditions:
One of our skilled doctors sits down with each candidate and performs a thorough pre-operative consultation. During the consultation, the ophthalmologist examines many factors, including corneal thickness and muscle balance. Based on the outcome of the examination, the doctor will determine if either LASIK or PRK is suitable for the patient.
To arrange a FREE consultation or to learn more about PRK, contact us at any of our convenient locations.