What is PRK?
Stage 1: Accessing the corneal stroma
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) – PRK completely removes the corneal epithelium, in order to gain access to the corneal stroma
Stage 2: Laser Treatment
Stage 3: Closing Stage
PRK, or Photorefractice Keratectomy, is a vision correction technique similar to LASEK that removes the corneal epithelium (outer layer of the cornea) to gain access to the corneal stroma. During “Stage 1: Accessing the corneal stroma,” the epithelial layer of the cornea is completely removed.
How does PRK work?
STEP 1: Mark edges of corneal epithelium (outer layer)
STEP 2: Completely remove corneal epithelium.
STEP 3: Resurface cornea with cool beam laser.
STEP 4: Contact lens placed to secure epithelial layer.
With the PRK technique, it takes a few days for the corneal epithelium to heal before vision clarity returns. For that reason, IQ Laser Vision suggests that the procedure is done to only 1 eye and the other eye is done 1-4 days after (depending on the recovery time). The procedure would be done on the first eye and corrective lenses are used to provide functional vision with the other eye – contact lenses or glasses will be provided by IQ Laser Vision.
What are the benefits of PRK?
The PRK procedure completely removes the epithelial layer in order to gain access to the corneal stroma. A specialized contact lens is placed over the cornea to protect the cornea during the healing process. Most patients do not experience any discomfort during the 15-minute procedure. There may be some discomfort the day after the procedure but within 3-4 days, patients typically achieve driving vision.
Major advantages are:
- No complications associated with a corneal flap
- PRK procedures may reduce the development of dry eyes in some individuals (when compared to LASIK)
- Decreases the chance of post-operative epithelial in-growth
Who is a candidate for PRK?
Good candidates for the PRK technique include patients who:
- Individuals who are over 18 years old
- Have healthy corneas and no major vision-related issues
- Stable vision – No significant change in their vision within the past 12 months prior to the procedure
- Patients who use glasses or contact lenses to improve their vision are ideal candidates
- Patients with steep or very thin corneas
There may be times when IQ Laser Vision may need to turn away patients because they are not a good candidate for the procedure because our number one concern is not the number of patients we bring in but the quality of care and high level of service we provide. That is why it is important to come in for our FREE CONSULTATION, in order for IQ Laser Vision to determine your candidacy and provide the best vision correction options for you.
What you can expect?
With the PRK technique, like LASIK, our goal is to eliminate, if not reduce, your dependency on corrective lenses. The benefit of the PRK technique is that you increase the positive results of your LASIK procedure. The technique retains the existing corneal epithelium which acts like as a natural bandage for the treatment area.
What are the risks of PRK?
PRK procedures are completely safe, but may pose some of the following risks:
- Increased healing period, when compared to LASIK
- Foreign object sensation
· Dry eyes
All risks are discussed and addressed before, during and after the procedure. IQ Laser Vision is dedicated to answering any and all questions you may have to ensure complete conformability and proper expectations with the procedure.
FAQs about PRK
A: Immediately following the procedure you would need to have someone drive you home. Depending on how quickly you are able to recover, and your particular case, most patients are typically able to drive 3-5 days after the procedure and return back to work 3-5 days after.
A: As part of the follow-up process, your recovery will be assessed at each follow-up visit to determine when it is suitable to return to physical activities. Typically patients are able to return to physically activity sooner than expected, however strong, direct sunlight and dirty/dusty environments should be avoided for as long as possible after your procedure.
A: During the procedure you will feel no pain. Some patients report minor to moderate pain during the recovery period. IQ Laser Vision will provide instructions to minimize any discomfort and do everything to ensure you are fully aware of expectations. Everything is discussed before, during and after the procedure.
A:Studies have shown that nearly every patient experiences a marked improvement in their vision as compared to their previously uncorrected vision with glasses or contacts. Over 99% of patients will attain corrected vision that will meet or exceed the DMV licensing requirements.
A: During the procedure, we will ask you to focus on a blurry, blinking red light. Immediately after the procedure the red light should become much clearer, and you should notice an improvement in your vision.
A: This is a common fear many patients have. Since every patient moves during the procedure, the laser treatment is designed to stop instantly if necessary. Our lasers, the Alcon Nidek EC-5000 and the Alegretto WaveLight Eye-Q 400Hz, have eye trackers that will follow your eye during the procedure. The laser delivers the pulses wherever they are supposed to go, despite any eye movements.
A: To minimize blinking, your eye will be numbed by an aesthetic. Even if you blink, the eye is held open by a small device called speculum, a minimal discomfort, and the Eye Tracker will still track your eyes to ensure proper laser placement.
A: Patients will wear a clear shield immediately after the procedure and during sleeping hours.
A: In rare cases, scarring may be seen right after the procedure but after a few days of recovery, there is NO evidence of scarring.
A: At the FREE consultation, we will gather data about your eyes including: visual acuity, refraction, measurement of current glasses, biomicroscopy, infrared pupillometry (measurement of nighttime pupil size), pachymetry (measurement of corneal thickness), corneal topography (using up to 3 different systems to measure both anterior and posterior surfaces), and if applicable, wavefront analysis. Based on these findings, our surgeon, Dr. Robert Lin will select the best treatment for your eyes. He will take as much time as necessary to thoroughly understand your expectations and explain the risks and benefits of the procedure.