See Clearly with PRK Surgery
The first type of laser vision correction ever developed was photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery. Performed at our Toronto, ON, practice, this refractive procedure is the predecessor to laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) vision correction and works in a similar way. Having this surgery can greatly reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. For some patients, PRK is a better option due to their individual anatomy, and it can produce excellent outcomes. Our skilled and caring doctors can evaluate your candidacy for PRK and provide the best vision treatment and follow-up care available. For more information, contact us to schedule a consultation today.
For both PRK and LASIK, your eye surgeon corrects refractive error by sculpting the cornea with an excimer laser. Reshaping the cornea allows light to correctly focus on the retina for improved vision. The difference is in the way the surgeon accesses the treatment area within the cornea, which is called the stroma. With LASIK, a thin, hinged flap is created on the corneal surface. With PRK, the cornea’s entire outer (epithelial) layer is removed. These epithelial cells begin growing back in a matter of days. Because no flap is created, PRK can be preferable for patients with thin or irregularly shaped corneas, large pupils, or those who have previously undergone eye surgery.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
PRK surgery is done on an outpatient basis. You will be conscious during your procedure, but we will give you a mild sedative to help you relax. Once you are comfortable, your surgeon will apply anesthetic drops to numb your eyes. Your eyelid will be held open with a device called a speculum, and you will be asked to focus on a red light. The laser will be used to gently remove the epithelium. After the stroma is exposed, the cornea can be reshaped to your prescription’s exact specifications. Surgery is exceedingly controlled and precise, and the laser is programmed to recalibrate itself to compensate for any minimal eye movement. The procedure takes only about one minute per eye, and patients feel only mild discomfort, if any. You may, however, feel some pressure on your eye. Immediately after reshaping, your surgeon will apply a bandage contact lens on the eye to protect it during healing. You will rest for a short time and a loved one will need to drive you home from your appointment.
Aftercare and Recovery
We recommend following your post-operative instructions carefully to ensure the best results. You will be sent home with topical antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and pain medication to help keep you comfortable and aid the healing process. Recovery from PRK takes longer than with LASIK. Although the epithelial cells begin to regenerate within days, it may take a couple of weeks before your eyesight improves and stabilizes. You can expect to have several follow-up appointments, first to remove the bandage contact lens and then to monitor your progress. In general, you can anticipate being able to drive one to three weeks after surgery. Completely clear and stable vision may take three to six months to achieve.
Most patients feel that PRK surgery is well worth the time and investment. The freedom gained from reducing or eliminating dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses can be a life-changing experience. Our laser eye surgery team is comprised of leading specialists in the field, and you can be confident that you will receive the highest level of care possible. To learn more, schedule a complimentary consultation today.