We’ve all heard of LASIK surgery, but have you heard of PRK? PRK eye surgery is a common alternative to LASIK eye surgery that is suited for patients with thin corneas, dry eyes, or mild forms of blurred vision. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about PRK surgery, including what to expect during your procedure and recovery, the benefits of receiving PRK surgery, and how much it typically costs.
What is PRK Eye Surgery?
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) eye surgery is a type of refractive eye surgery that is typically used to treat mild forms of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and blurry vision (astigmatism). PRK is similar to LASIK eye surgery in that it improves the patient’s vision long-term, potentially eliminating the need for corrective glasses, reading glasses, and contact lenses altogether. However, PRK is generally recommended for patients who have mild blurred vision, dry eyes, or thin corneas.
Who Is a Candidate for PRK Eye Surgery?
PRK eye surgery is an effective and proven way to treat mild cases of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. To be a candidate for this type of refractive eye surgery, certain criteria must be met. In general, PRK is often recommended for those with thin corneas, dry eyes, and mild forms of blurred vision.
PRK eye surgery is recommended for those with thin corneas due to its more precise treatment approach. It does not disrupt as much corneal tissue as LASIK surgery, so it is suited for those with less corneal tissue to begin with. In addition, PRK eye surgery has a short recovery period and a low risk of vision-threatening complications.
What Are the Risks of PRK Eye Surgery?
The risks associated with PRK eye surgery are low, but they do exist. The most common risk is that of infection, which can occur when bacteria enter the eye during the operation. This can be prevented using antibiotics, which are administered before and after the procedure. Other risks include dry eyes, halos or glare around lights, under-correction or over-correction of vision, and night vision problems.
Your board-certified doctor will go over the risks with you at your initial consultation. He or she will teach you how to take care of your eyes before surgery and during recovery to minimize the risks and improve your surgical outcome.
How to Prepare for PRK Eye Surgery
Preparing for PRK eye surgery is an important part of ensuring a successful procedure and minimizing any risks.
First, it’s important to visit your ophthalmologist for an eye exam to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. Prior to this exam, you should stop wearing rigid contact lenses for at least three weeks to ensure your eyes can be properly evaluated before surgery. If you wear soft contact lenses, stop them at least three days before this appointment.
Once your surgery is scheduled, make sure to ask someone to drive you home on the day of the procedure since your vision will be blurry immediately after the surgery.
Lastly, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on post-operative care, such as using eye drops and avoiding activities that could cause further harm to your eyes.
What to Expect During PRK Eye Surgery
During your PRK procedure, you’ll be asked to lie down on a table. Your board-certified doctor will provide you with medicated eye drops to numb your eyes, ensuring you remain comfortable throughout your treatment process. An instrument will be used to hold your eyelids open while the laser procedure is performed.
Next, your doctor will use an alcohol solution, brush, or small blade to remove the outermost portion of your cornea, called the epithelium. This gives your doctor access to the cornea and using advanced laser technology, your provider will reshape your cornea. You’ll likely be asked to focus on a point of light throughout your procedure, and your vision may dim. This is normal and is no reason for concern. Your entire procedure should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
Recovering from PRK Eye Surgery
PRK recovery time is minimal, lasting just a few weeks to a month. Immediately following your PRK procedure, your eyes may feel slightly uncomfortable. Itching, burning, and a gritty sensation a few days after surgery is normal; however, it’s important you DO NOT rub your eyes at any point. Your provider will give you medicated eye drops to use several times throughout the day and protective eyewear to ensure you stay comfortable throughout your recovery period.
It’s important to note that your vision may take some time to fully restore. Our patients often find their vision is slightly blurry for the first few weeks following their PRK procedure surgery. However, vision should improve greatly by one month after the procedure. We also ask that patients avoid using cosmetics around the eyes for several weeks following surgery to ensure the eyes are not irritated during the healing process.
Benefits of PRK Eye Surgery
There are many benefits of receiving PRK eye surgery with the doctors at The Laser Center of Coral Gables, including:
- Minimally invasive procedure
- Short procedure time
- Restores vision for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
- Eliminates the need for glasses, reading glasses, or contacts for most activities
- 90% of patients gain 20/20 vision without glasses or contact lenses by one year after surgery
- Long-lasting, potentially permanent results
- High-quality, personalized care
- Attentive, board-certified doctors carrying out your procedure
PRK Eye Surgery Cost
The cost of your PRK vision surgery will likely vary depending on whether you receive surgery on one or both eyes. The best way to find out how much your PRK surgery will cost is to talk to one of the board-certified doctors at The Laser Center of Coral Gables. Your expert provider will be happy to sit down with you, listen to your vision concerns, evaluate your current condition, and provide you with a tailored treatment plan to help you achieve your vision goals.
Top PRK Surgeons Near Me
If you’re looking for high-quality, comprehensive eye care in Miami and the neighboring communities of South Florida, look no further than The Laser Center of Coral Gables. Our team of board-certified doctors and expert staff members are proud to offer a wide range of services, including PRK surgery, LASIK surgery, and refractive lens exchange (RLE).