The original form of FDA-approved excimer laser treatment is known as PRK. It was the most common form of refractive surgery procedure before LASIK was introduced. PRK is an acronym for photorefractive keratectomy. Like LASIK, PRK corrects vision by reshaping the cornea with the excimer laser. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can all be treated with PRK.
How PRK Differs From LASIK
- The Procedure: What distinguishes the PRK procedure from LASIK is in performing PRK the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed first and then the excimer laser is applied to reshape the cornea. The corneal flap is not created. The procedure is painless, and your eyes are anesthetized with drops to ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible. The reshaping of the cornea is the same in both procedures, i.e. lasik and PRK.
- The Length of the Procedure: The procedure takes only a few minutes and is dependent on your prescription—the higher the prescription, the longer the procedure, though even higher prescriptions are usually completed in less than a minute.
- The Healing Process: A soft contact lens will have to be worn over the eye for several days to minimize discomfort and help in the healing process. The outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) will regenerate as it heals leaving no scar. Patients can expect to return to their daily routine within a few days. The other main difference requires the patient to use eye drops for several months after having PRK.
Why PRK Is Recommended Instead of LASIK
PRK is usually the preferred procedure for patients whose corneas are too thin to have lasik for the long term health of their corneas or there are other extenuating circumstances or conditions that would contradict having lasik. Dr. Grochmal will make an expert diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for your particular needs.
For the best in safe, personal eye care in the Baltimore, Ellicott City, Annapolis and the Washington D.C. areas, contact Grochmal Eye Center for a consultation or appointment.