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PRK - Photo-Refractive Keratectomy


Are you considering vision correction, but aren’t sure what the best option might be? If you’re nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, PRK may be able to help you reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses and contacts and improve your vision easily and affordably. Worldwide, over 500,000 people have had their vision improved with PRK. PRK is widely recognized as one of the most popular form of refractive surgery.

About PRK

PRK, or Photo-Refractive Keratectomy is the process of using the excimer laser to reshape the cornea so light is focused naturally on the retina. PRK was the first procedure to use the excimer laser to treat many types of refractive errors and is still the procedure of choice for certain patients. During PRK, the excimer laser uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove very tiny bits of tissue from the surface of the cornea in order to reshape it. Once the cornea is reshaped, it works better to focus light into the eye and onto the retina, providing clearer vision than before.

Is PRK the choice for you?

  • Want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts
  • At least 18 years old
  • Have maintained a stable eye prescription for at least one year
  • Have corneas that are too thin for LASIK
  • Do not have very dry eyes, cataracts or dilated pupils

Click to View the Interactive Cataracts Vision Test

PRK has helped thousands of people improve their vision and their lives with precise, effective excimer laser technology. If you are considering vision correction, consider what PRK can do for you.

Question & Answer

How effective is PRK?

Most people achieve 20/20 or better vision after PRK. Studies have shown that 95% to 98% of people who undergo PRK are able to legally drive without the use of corrective lenses.

Is PRK painful?

The surgery is virtually painless and is performed using anesthetic eye drops. After the surgery, your eye will be a bit sore and some pain medicaltion will most likely be required. Until the eye has healed, it may feel like you have some grit or sand in your eye. Usually, after the third day, you should be comfortable.

What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?

Both procedures use a cool beam excimer laser to reshape the cornea and to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. During PRK, the laser is used to reshape the cornea on top of the actual surface of the cornea. During LASIK, the laser is used to reshape the cornea after a protective flap of tissue is created and lifted. After a thorough eye examination, the doctor will recommend the procedure that he feels will give you the best visual results.

What are the risks or side effects of PRK?

Although most PRK patients have no complications, some patients may experience light sensitivity, glare or starburst effects around headlights and other bright lights in the evening hours. There may also be some fluctuation of vision during the stabilization period, which usually resolves within six months of surgery.

What to Expect on Surgery Day.

Most people don't feel pain during PRK. First, the eye is numbed using eye drop anesthesia. Then, a physician, such as Dr. Howerton of the Howerton Eye Center in Austin, Texas, removes a thin, protective layer of tissue that covers the cornea, called the epithelium. During the procedure, the physician will instruct the patient to look directly at the laser's fixation light. Then, a small amount of tissue will be removed from the surface of the cornea. The excimer laser produces a beam of cool light that lasts only a few billionths of a second. The amount of cornea removed depends on the amount of correction needed.

This article about Cataract Surgery and PRK has been provided courtesy of DoctorDirect.

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