Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) was the first laser procedure used to correct vision. Because of its effectiveness, it remains a viable option for patients today and serves as a useful alternative to LASIK. If you’ve committed to taking the next step to better vision, it’s important to stay educated about what each procedure entails. Here’s what to expect during your PRK procedure.
It’s our goal at Williamson Eye Institute to make your procedure a pleasant and comfortable experience. When you enter the exam room, a member of our team will position you comfortably and apply numbing drops to your eyes so that you can stay relaxed during your procedure.
Like most vision correction procedures, you’ll be awake during PRK. To eliminate blinking and eye movement, a device called a lid speculum is used to prop your eye open during the procedure. Because your eye will be numbed with drops, you will not feel any pain when your eye is stabilized but can expect to feel a mild pressure.
After you’ve been readied for surgery, a Williamson Eye Institute surgeon will calibrate the laser for your unique prescription and start the procedure.
In order to access the part of the cornea that will be worked on, your surgeon will gently remove the the surface epithelium, or surface corneal cells, with a laser. Once the corneal tissue is exposed, the computer-driven, ultraviolet excimer laser is then focused on your cornea to begin vision correction.
Using ultraviolet light, the laser will reshape and adjust the underlying corneal tissue to your specific needs. This part of the procedure is usually very quick, lasting only minutes. Once finished, the doctor will place a temporary lens on your eye that works as a bandage while your corneal surface heals. Each eye will be corrected separately, and the procedure should take no more than 30 minutes to complete.
After the surgery, it is important to follow all postoperative instructions. The bandage lens that is placed in your eye after the procedure should not affect your vision and is usually worn for four or five days as your eye heals. Once your doctor determines the surface of your eye is properly healed, he or she will remove your bandage lens in the office.
As you recover, you can expect for your vision to alternate between clear and blurry for a few weeks. It is also common to feel mild discomfort like dry eye symptoms. To help combat discomfort and infection, your doctor will prescribe prescription eye drops to be used after the surgery. It is important to use only eye drops your doctor has approved.
It is important to understand that improved vision will not be immediate. Your vision will gradually get stronger as you recover. You can expect to see a dramatic improvement in your vision by the end of the first week, but most patients note that they see their best six weeks to six months after the procedure. During this time, you will meet with your doctor to monitor your progress.
Knowing what to expect during PRK can help you feel a little more confident in making your vision correction decision. Be sure to contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about the process.
At Williamson Eye Institute, we are dedicated to assisting our patients with their vision and eye-related needs throughout the years. To find out more about our services, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook or LinkedIn.