PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was developed in the early 1980s and granted FDA approval in 1995. Before LASIK evolved, PRK surgery was the most common refractive eye surgery performed in the U.S.
PRK and LASIK are both considered “laser vision correction surgery,” but each is a little different when it comes to advantages and disadvantages. LASIK patients have less discomfort initially and experience clear, unaided vision more quickly. PRK patients have more discomfort during the first 3 days following surgery and visual improvement is gradual over a few days to weeks. PRK is FDA approved and is a safe and stable procedure for patients who have nearsightedness, thinner corneas, irregular astigmatism and hyperopia.
PRK and LASIK are performed with an excimer laser, which utilizes a cool laser beam to reshape the corneal surface.
PRK is an outpatient procedure. You should plan on being at the surgery center for approximately 2-3 hours. This includes pre-operative and post-operative testing as well. Most people do not feel pain during PRK surgery. Your eyes are first anesthetized with numbing drops. The surgeon will have you lie down and then make sure your eye is positioned directly under the laser. A special instrument is used to hold your eyelids open during the procedure. The surgeon uses a computer to adjust the laser for your particular prescription.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions completely, using all prescribed medications and eye drops. Call your doctor immediately if you suspect a problem. What occurs after surgery can affect your vision just as much as the surgery itself.
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