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illustration of eyeball before and after PRK

PRK Eye Surgery

Wearing glasses or contacts can be a hassle, but if you have thin corneas, you may not qualify for LASIK.

For the right candidates, PRK eye surgery may be a better way to reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses.

Why should I consider PRK?

Fast, Safe, and Effective Treatment

A Quick Outpatient Procedure

PRK can usually be completed in about 15 minutes, and your designated driver can take you home shortly after your procedure.

Low Risk of Complications

Since PRK does not involve creating a flap in the cornea, there is no risk of flap complications. PRK patients with active jobs or lifestyles do not have to worry about the flap dislodging and causing issues.

Good for Thin or Thick Corneas

To qualify for LASIK, your cornea must be thick enough to accommodate the flap. However, because PRK does not involve creating a tissue flap, it can provide an effective alternative.

So how does it work?

PRK Eye Surgery Can Improve Your Quality of Life

*According to a study published in Cureus

Studies also show that 94 percent of PRK patients experience improved vision as long as 12 years after surgery.

So how can PRK correct my vision?

before and after PRK Am I eligible for PRK?

Candidacy Factors

Age

PRK is typically only recommended to patients who are at least 18 years old since the eyes can continue developing into early adulthood.

Ocular Health

The best candidates are free of issues such as dry eyes and keratoconus, have not suffered eye trauma in the past year, and have had a stable glasses prescription for at least a year.

Overall Health

Some autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis may disqualify you from PRK, as it can trigger corneal deterioration and other complications.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not undergo PRK until at least three months after breastfeeding has ended because the concurrent hormone levels can affect your vision.

The Cost of PRK Is Comparable to That of LASIK

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PRK usually costs about the same as LASIK, which cost an average of $2,088 per eye in 2017. Therefore, the real deciding factor comes down to the characteristics of your eyes, your lifestyle, and your doctor's recommendation.

Let's take a closer look at the PRK treatment process...

Fifteen Minutes to Clearer Vision

On the day of your PRK procedure, eat a light meal, take all prescription medication, and remove any eye makeup. PRK eye surgery takes 15 minutes at most for both eyes.

Before beginning, your doctor will apply numbing eye drops.

Your doctor will remove the epithelium (the outermost layer of your cornea).

Using a highly precise femtosecond laser, your doctor will reshape your cornea.

Your doctor will apply a bandage contact lens to protect your eye.

You will likely attend a follow-up visit the day after your procedure.

Five to seven days after PRK, you will return to your doctor's office to have the contacts removed.

PRK Recovery

PRK recovery takes longer than LASIK recovery due to the amount of tissue removed during surgery. Immediately after surgery, you should have someone drive you home. Plan to rest for the remainder of the day. It will take a few days for the epithelial cells to regenerate, and your vision will be blurry during this time.

You will receive antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection during initial recovery. You will also receive prescription meds for pain management. Most patients can safely drive within one to three weeks. It may take up to six months for your vision to fully stabilize.

PRK Results

Once you have healed, you can expect a significantly reduced need for corrective eyewear. Many patients find that they don't need glasses or contacts at all. However, it is important to remember that PRK does not stop the aging process or related changes in vision. Presbyopia, for example, may cause you to eventually need a touch-up treatment or to begin wearing reading glasses.

Still have your doubts?

Explore Your Options

If you are not ready to undergo surgery, you can continue to wear glasses or contacts to correct your vision. Some eye doctors now offer orthokeratology, which involves using contacts to reshape your corneas overnight, resulting in clear vision during the day. However, this is a temporary solution and only works as long as you wear the lenses. If you qualify for LASIK, the recovery time is shorter than that of PRK. However, PRK may simply be a better choice depending on your corneal thickness, profession, and other factors.

If you are tired of the daily hassles of contacts or glasses, you owe it to yourself to explore the possibility of refractive surgery. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today to learn more.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.