PRK: An Option for Vision Improvement
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a type of laser eye surgery used to correct mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. The goal with PRK, just like LASIK, is to reshape the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) so light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina (the back of the eye).
You might be wondering how PRK differs from LASIK. The difference is that there is no incision needed because no corneal flap is created during the first step of the process (as in LASIK). Instead, Dr. John Wright removes a thin layer on your cornea (the epithelium) so he can use a computer-controlled excimer laser to vaporize microscopic amounts of tissue and sculpt a new corneal contour. This is the same excimer laser that is used during LASIK.
While the visual results of PRK and LASIK are equal, the recovery time is different. After the corneal reshaping with PRK is complete, your eyes will need sufficient time to heal. Your vision will remain blurry for a number of days until the surface cells on your cornea have regenerated. This takes approximately 4 days. We typically schedule PRK procedures on Thursdays so you can take the 4-day weekend to heal. By this time, most patients can see well enough to drive and resume normal activities.
It can take about a month to achieve your full vision results. The reason PRK takes longer to achieve full results than LASIK is because it takes a few weeks for the epithelium to regrow to its normal 5-cell-layer thickness and to become as smooth as glass once again.
Side Effects of PRK
Most of the side effects that may be experienced are part of the healing process of the cornea. These will usually disappear or be reduced within a few weeks or months after the surgery. Long-term complications are uncommon. The most common side effect of PRK is discomfort lasting 4 days following the procedure.
Dr. Wright performs PRK procedures to help reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses or contacts. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation, free PRK Consultation in Colorado Springs to learn more about your unique eye health!