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What Is PRK Eye Surgery?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is surgery done by a computerized laser to correct your vision. It uses technology similar to LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis). PRK surgery precisely removes the surface cells of the cornea. This corrects its curvature and the light it bends, correcting your vision. Since PRK eye surgery only alters the surface of your cornea, it is also called advanced surface ablation.

Benefits of Photo Refractive Keratectomy

PRK works by altering the surface layers of the cornea to change how it focuses light. It corrects your vision enough that you can drive and perform most daily activities without needing glasses or contact lenses. About 90% of people undergoing PRK laser surgery have near-perfect vision without glasses a year after surgery.

Conditions PRK Can Treat:

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness): You can’t see distant objects clearly
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness): You can’t see nearby objects clearly, and reading is difficult
  • Astigmatism: Blurred vision because of abnormal corneal shape

Am I a Candidate for PRK Surgery?

Most adults are good candidates for this procedure. However, you should meet certain requirements.

  • Age over 18. Your growth period must be over before you consider any type of eye surgery to correct vision.
  • Stable vision. Your eye prescription should be stable for at least a year.
  • Healthy corneas. Corneal diseases and past injuries may rule out this procedure.
  • Good health. Diabetes and some other conditions impede healing.
  • Normal eyes. Glaucoma, cataracts, and infections are not compatible with this procedure.

An ophthalmologist with experience in laser eye surgery is the best person to guide you. Laser Eye Center of Lubbock’s experienced surgeons specialize in vision correction procedures and will help you find the procedure that best fits your eyes’ needs and lifestyle.

optometrist evaluating patient for a prescription reading

What Happens During Your PRK Procedure?

You will meet an ophthalmologist before your procedure. They’ll examine your eyes and measure your corneas and refractive errors. You will also receive instructions about preparing for the procedure. This includes not using eye makeup and contact lenses for some time before the scheduled surgery.

  • Your doctor will put local anesthetic drops into your eye to numb it. You will have an eyelid holder to prevent blinking.
  • You will be conscious during the procedure, which generally takes 10 to 15 minutes.

PRK surgery is typically not very painful, and your doctor may prescribe medication to help alleviate any discomfort following the procedure.

You can go home soon after the surgery, though you will need someone to drive you.

Recovery After PRK

Recovery is generally quick after this procedure. You may have some eye pain and irritation, blurry vision, and an inability to tolerate bright light. These are usually short-lived.

Your doctor will place contact lenses on your eyes to act as a bandage. They will remove it five days after the PRK procedure.

Your ophthalmologist will prescribe some eye drops to prevent infection and relieve pain. You can also use over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever medicines.

When outdoors during the day, you should wear sunglasses. Strong sun exposure can cause corneal scarring and vision problems.

You should take a few days off work till your eye heals. Your doctor will advise you when to return to work.

You should avoid vigorous exercise and sports for a few days while your eyes are healing. Avoid rubbing your eyes for a few days.

Vision after PRK eye surgery: Most people’s vision improves to 20/30 or 20/40 a week after the procedure. Though this is not a perfect vision, you’ll be able to carry out most activities. Vision continues improving for three months as your eyes heal. However, you can expect to be seeing well in four to six weeks.

PRK vs LASIK Surgery

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is another type of laser eye surgery for correcting vision. Your doctor uses the laser to raise a flap of your cornea and remove a precise amount of tissue to correct your vision. The flap is replaced and heals over a few months. Vision improves rapidly after LASIK as compared to PRK.

If you have a thin cornea or a high refractive error, LASIK may not be possible, and PRK is the preferred procedure. PRK is also better if you have dry eyes. People with a very active lifestyle or those engaged in jobs with physical labor will also be safer with PRK rather than LASIK. Strenuous exercise or work can dislodge the corneal flap created by LASIK. PRK has no such dangers.

PRK Vision Correction Surgery Near You

If you are looking for PRK eye surgery in your area, you can search online for “PRK eye surgery near me”. This will provide you with a list of ophthalmologists who perform PRK laser eye surgery closest to your location. If you are in Lubbock, Texas, it is recommended that you consider the Laser Eye Center of Lubbock for your eye correction surgery. They are the most trusted eye surgeons in Lubbock, with over 25 years of combined eye care experience, and are leaders in vision correction surgery. Your LASIK eye surgeon will conduct a thorough assessment and provide personalized recommendations for your vision needs.

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Below are commonly asked questions about PRK.

What is PRK Eye Surgery and how does it work?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a computerized laser surgery that corrects vision by precisely removing the surface cells of the cornea, correcting its curvature and the light it bends. It alters the surface layers of the cornea to change how it focuses light, enabling most daily activities without needing glasses or contact lenses.

What conditions can PRK Eye Surgery treat?

Answer: PRK Eye Surgery can treat several conditions such as:

  1. Myopia (Nearsightedness): Difficulty seeing distant objects.
  2. Hyperopia (Farsightedness): Difficulty seeing nearby objects clearly and reading.
  3. Astigmatism: Blurred vision due to abnormal corneal shape.

Who is a suitable candidate for PRK Surgery?

Answer: Most adults are good candidates for PRK Surgery, but they should meet certain requirements like:

  1. Age over 18 and stable vision for at least a year.
  2. Healthy corneas and no past corneal diseases or injuries.
  3. Good health with no conditions like Diabetes that degrade the healing process.
  4. Normal eyes without Glaucoma, cataracts, and infections.

What is the difference between PRK and LASIK Surgery?

Answer: LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is another type of laser eye surgery where a flap of your cornea is raised to correct your vision. Vision improves rapidly after LASIK as compared to PRK. However, PRK is preferred if you have a thin cornea, high refractive error, dry eyes, or a very active lifestyle. PRK has no risk of dislodging the corneal flap created by LASIK.