What is PRK?
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is the original laser vision correction procedure. While not as popular as LASIK, PRK has the same great results, but with a longer recovery time. To perform PRK surgery, the laser eye surgeon administers numbing drops then removes the thin corneal covering known as the epithelium. This regenerates in just under a week. After the epithelium is removed, the surgeon reshapes the cornea using the VISX Star S4 laser. This can be done with either Traditional or CustomVue Wavefront Guided technology. Since the technology used to correct your actual vision is the same as with LASIK, the visual outcome is also the same, but the recovery time is different.
Who Chooses PRK?
Restore Vision Centers does about 90% LASIK and 10% PRK. Half of our PRK patients are non-candidates for LASIK. The other half are patients who choose to have PRK because their careers (for example some military) do not allow a corneal flap.
PRK patients have a soft contact lens placed on their eyes after the procedure. This lens stays in place for about five days, then is removed by the doctor. Vision is typically somewhat blurry during this period, but better than your previous vision without glasses. After the lenses are removed, vision gradually improves. PRK patients have no LASIK flap, and so have no restrictions other than swimming. The rule is: “if you can see it, you can do it.” After the procedure, patients can be uncomfortable for about 48 to 72 hours. Patients are given a Vicodin prescription to take as needed.