In addition to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses, myopia or nearsightedness can also be corrected with refractive operations. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is the first type of laser eye surgery, making it the predecessor of a more popular option known as LASIK. In today’s post, Myopia Institute discusses how it works.
The PRK Process
PRK is a surgical form of corneal reshaping therapy intended to correct not only myopia but also other refractive errors, such as hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. During the procedure, your eye care specialist will remove a central portion of your corneal epithelium using alcohol or a blunt instrument. Using an excimer laser, your cornea will be reshaped, so its surface could be more smooth and even. Afterward, your eye doctor will place soft contact lenses on the affected eyes to serve as a bandage. Doing this can protect your eyes as we wait a few days for new corneal epithelial cells grow.
Like LASIK, PRK also has certain requirements you need to meet before we recommend this as a vision correction option. First, you must be at least 18 years old to ensure your vision is fully developed. Your eye prescription must have remained the same for at least a year prior to the procedure. You should also have healthy corneas and good overall health. For those wearing contact or ortho k lenses, we may ask you to stop wearing them a few weeks before the surgery as they can alter your cornea’s natural shape.
Its Difference From LASIK
The main difference between LASIK and PRK lies in the first step of these two procedures. In LASIK, your eye doctor will create a thin flap on your cornea using a femtosecond laser or microkeratome. Upon lifting this flap, the surgeon may remove or rearrange the underlying corneal tissue. Once everything is in place, the eye doctor will place the flap back to its original position.
On the other hand, PRK involves the total removal of your cornea’s epithelium or its outermost layer. In this surgical corneal reshaping therapy, your eye care specialist will allow your affected eye to heal naturally. The epithelium usually repairs itself and grows back around four to five days after the surgery.
For more information about PRK or other eye care concerns, reach out to a myopia control expert near you. We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon.