Have you been told you don’t qualify for LASIK? Whether you have dry eye syndrome or insufficient corneal thickness, you don’t have to live the rest of your life dependent on glasses or contacts.
There is another exciting option for you: PRK. While you may be more familiar with LASIK, PRK is a permanent vision correction procedure that is just as safe and effective as LASIK.
Those who do not meet the candidacy requirements for LASIK can often undergo this procedure and achieve nearly identical results. Keep reading to find out if PRK will achieve the same results as LASIK!
What Is PRK?
PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a form of laser eye surgery capable of permanently correcting refractive errors. It is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
A refractive error has to do with the shape or length of the eye. When your eye is irregularly shaped, it cannot focus light properly.
In a normal eye, the lens works with the cornea to bend light rays to focus them onto the retina. When the light rays fall directly on the cornea, it then sends visual information to the brain to form an image.
In the case of nearsightedness, light focuses in front of the retina instead of onto it. The eyeball itself may be longer than average, or the cornea may be excessively curved.
With farsightedness, the opposite is true: the eyeball may be too short, or the cornea not curved enough. These irregularities cause light to focus behind the retina.
In a patient with astigmatism, the lens or cornea is irregularly curved, preventing light from being refracted evenly. PRK corrects this by gently reshaping the cornea.
What Happens During the PRK Procedure?
After your eye doctor numbs your eye, they will carefully remove the outer layer of the cornea, also known as the epithelium. Your eye doctor then uses an ultra-precise laser to alter the cornea to a standard shape.
A contact lens is then applied to protect the eye as it heals. PRK is an outpatient procedure that only takes about ten minutes.
By permanently altering the shape of the cornea for proper light refraction, your vision becomes clearer than ever. Formerly blurry images become sharp, and many people can reduce the amount they rely on glasses or contacts to see every day.
How Does PRK Compare to LASIK?
With a very high patient satisfaction rate, the results of PRK are almost identical to LASIK. Both procedures are a form of laser eye surgery, and they share many similarities.
There are, however, a couple of differences as well. The first difference is that PRK does not involve creating a flap in the cornea, as LASIK does.
During LASIK, your eye surgeon creates a thin flap in the cornea, which is folded back into place for healing after the procedure. During PRK, your eye surgeon removes the top layer of your cornea.
After the procedure and during the recovery period, the corneal tissue will regenerate and heal naturally. While both procedures are low risk, one advantage of this difference is that PRK avoids the possibility of corneal flap dislocation that can occur with LASIK.
For this reason, PRK requires a bit of a longer recovery time. While epithelial cells are constantly growing, it can take several weeks for the top layer of your cornea to grow back and heal.
Most patients can experience their new, clearer vision after about a week. As with LASIK, most patients who undergo PRK are thrilled with the results.
Most people are able to significantly reduce dependence on glasses or contacts for unprecedented visual freedom that allows them to live a life with less hassle and more comfort.
Who Is a Good Candidate for PRK?
Anyone who wants to free themselves of the need for glasses or contacts can find immense value in PRK. This is particularly true for those who lead active or spontaneous lifestyles.
Eyewear can tend to get in the way of your daily activities even more. If you don’t qualify for LASIK, you may be a better fit for PRK.
Some people cannot qualify for LASIK due to thinner-than-average corneas, but this is not an issue with PRK. LASIK requires that you have sufficient corneal thickness to create a flap, but this aspect does not apply to PRK.
Patients with a history of dry eye syndrome may also find PRK a better option. Unlike LASIK, it has less likelihood of agitating dry eye symptoms.
Some other basic requirements for LASIK apply to PRK too. You should be at least eighteen years old, not pregnant or nursing, and have a stable prescription for at least the last year.
Do you want to learn if you are a candidate for PRK? Schedule an appointment at Cheema MD Eye Care in Hudson Valley, NY, today!