PRK Surgery Overview
PRK, also known as Photorefractive Keratectomy, is a type of refractive laser surgery that reshapes the cornea using an excimer laser. PRK is designed to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. It was also the first FDA-approved refractive procedure that involved the use of an excimer laser. PRK eye surgery is an outpatient procedure, this means you’re not expected to stay overnight at the practice or hospital. Like LASIK, once PRK is performed it is permanent and irreversible.
To begin PRK surgery, your doctor will administer anesthetic eye drops. Once your eyes have been fully anesthetized the doctor will remove the epithelial layer of your eyes. Afterward an excimer laser is used to flatten the surface of your cornea. During the procedure you’ll need to focus on a target area while the doctor performs the procedure. It’s important that you are comfortable with laying flat on your back for about 20 minutes while the procedure is performed. Typically the process takes about 15-20 minutes or less. Like Lasik, PRK surgery is performed on one eye at a time but typically the procedure on the second eye is done about three months after the first surgery.
There are some side effects and complications you should consider when thinking about PRK surgery.
- Infection of the eye after procedure
- Undercorrection and overcorrection
- Difficulty driving at night due to halos and glares
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Decrease in sharpness of vision
- Continued need for reading glasses
- Clouding of the cornea
- Additional PRK surgery, if the initial surgery results are not satisfactory