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Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)
What is PRK?
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) is an alternate laser procedure for patients who have thin corneas where iLASIK may not leave enough residual tissue behind. As such, the most superficial surface of the eye is removed and the eye is then lasered. The superficial tissue completely regrows over the next 3-5 days.
How is PRK different than LASIK?
Unlike LASIK, PRK doesn’t require an incision in the cornea, an important difference for someone with unusually thin corneas, where an incision could potentially affect the structural integrity of the eye.
In LASIK the surface of the eye (the cornea) is cut and a flap is made and then an excimer laser is used to reshape the shape of the eye to correct your refractive prescription. In PRK, the excimer laser is also utilized but because your cornea maybe thin, a cut/flap is not made but rather the most superficial part of the cornea is removed generally through an alcohol treatment. That tissue generally completely regrows over the next 3 to 5 years.
How is healing with PRK compared to LASIK?
The vision is often blurrier with PRK the first couple weeks as the superficial surface regrows and rebalances. While LASIK patient generally notice mild blur for up to a couple days. Long term though the quality of vision is similar. Because of the longer healing period with PRK, man patients prefer to have one eye treated at a time, separated by two week-long healing period.
Who is a candidate for PRK?
Not everyone can be a candidate for PRK. Certain eye, health and lifestyle conditions may disqualify some candidates from the procedure. Candidates include:
- You must be an adult – over the age of 18
- You must have stable vision for at least one year
- Not pregnant or nursing
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