PRK At A Glance
What is PRK?
PRK is a laser correction procedure to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Like LASIK, the procedure utilizes excimer laser technology to change the shape of the cornea. The cornea bends light rays entering the eye so they come to a sharp focus on the retina in the back of the eye. When the corneal shape is not ideal, blurry vision will occur. The cornea can be too steep in nearsighted eyes, not steep enough in farsighted eyes, or oval in astigmatic eyes.
The excimer laser does not burn or cut — it breaks apart the individual chemical bonds between atoms so they are released into the air, elegantly reshaping the cornea without affecting its transparency.
Dr. Lipstock has been performing PRK in Virginia since 1995.
To find out if PRK or LASIK is right for you, contact us today to schedule a free LASIK Consultation.
Who is PRK for?
PRK is often recommended to patients who are not candidates for LASIK for a variety of reasons, including:
- Thin or irregularly shaped corneas.
- Anatomy does not allow adequate suction required for LASIK.
- Concern about injury to LASIK flap.
The PRK Procedure
During PRK, the cornea’s thin outer layer is gently removed to allow access to the underlying tissue so the cornea can be reshaped with the excimer laser. The laser treatment itself is the same as in LASIK, (← Link to the LASIK page) however, the PRK procedure is faster and does not create the same pressure-like sensation. PRK recovery does take longer than LASIK because of the corneal abrasion purposefully created, but the final results are equally as dramatic.
PRK Surgery and Recovery
PRK is a laser correction procedure to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Like LASIK, the procedure utilizes excimer laser technology to change the shape of the cornea (the transparent window-like dome in front of the iris.)
During the Procedure
What to expect before, during, and after PRK
A comprehensive eye exam will be performed to determine if PRK is right for you. It involves a variety of tests to check the health of your eyes and a thorough review of your medical history.
In the exam room, numbing drops will be placed in each eye and an orientation mark will be made on the white part of the eye with a sterile marking pen.
Dr. Lipstock will place an eyelid holder between your eyelids so you do not have to worry about blinking. More numbing drops will be placed in your eye and then Dr. Lipstock will gently wipe away the superficial epithelial cells on the surface of the cornea to gain access to the underlying stroma of the cornea.
The tracking device will then be activated to center the laser treatment and follow the slightest movement of your eye and the laser will automatically and quickly reshape the cornea.
A small, flat, round, white sponge (6mm in diameter) soaked in medication to prevent scarring is placed on the center of the cornea for approximately 15 seconds. Your eye will then be rinsed with sterile water which removes the medication.
An extended-wear soft contact lens with no power is placed with sterile forceps onto the eye. This acts as a Band-Aid to prevent discomfort. It will be removed by Dr. Lipstock with sterile forceps 1 week later.
After your procedure, a staff member will tape clear plastic shields over your eyes. Then, you will go home to rest. You will need someone to drive you home.
Immediately after the procedure, most people will notice a significant improvement in their vision. However, since your vision will be somewhat blurry in the first few days, we recommend staying home during that time period.
Most patients function well at normal activities 3-4 days post-op. Your vision may take several weeks or months to fully stabilize, but the outer corneal layer should be on its way to becoming perfectly smooth and providing crystal clear vision without eyeglasses.
What are the results like?
No doctor can guarantee you will have perfect 20/20 vision after PRK. Although most patients do achieve this level of vision, there are other vision conditions that can develop as your eyes age including presbyopia. This is a natural part of the aging process that begins around age 40 and can require the need for reading glasses. With PRK surgery, Dr. Lipstock can help minimize the need for reading glasses in presbyopic patients.