PRK Laser Eye Surgery
At Skouras Eye & Cosmetic Centre, Dr. Skouras offers a range of vision correction procedures, including the precursor to LASIK, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). For some individuals, PRK provides certain advantages over LASIK (laser vision correction) surgery and is a more appropriate treatment option.
What Is PRK?
PRK is a type of vision correction surgery used to correct the refractive error causing farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism. Similar to LASIK surgery, during PRK, Dr. Skouras uses an excimer laser to reshape the curvature of the cornea to correct the patient’s vision problem. The difference between LASIK and PRK is the method used to gain access to the corneal tissue that requires reshaping. With LASIK, your laser eye surgeon creates a hinged flap in the surface of the cornea to access the underlying corneal tissue. With PRK, Dr. Skouras ablates, or surgically removes, most of the surface of the epithelium to gain access to the corneal tissue below.
Who Is a Candidate for PRK?
Due to the unique variations of each person’s eye anatomy, some individuals may be more appropriate candidates for PRK than they are for LASIK surgery. In particular, patients with corneas that are too thin to withstand the creation of a corneal flap might benefit from PRK. In addition, individuals with severe nearsightedness or topographic eye abnormalities might also be suitable PRK candidates.
What Happens Before, During and After the Procedure?
As with LASIK surgery, preoperative PRK patients must stop wearing contact lenses about one week before the procedure.
Prior to the surgery date, patients are scheduled for wavefront imaging to capture a unique map of the eye’s topography. On the day of surgery, Dr. Skouras uses this map to calibrate the excimer laser used to reshape the curvature of the cornea. He then administers topical anesthetic eye drops, so the patient remains comfortable throughout the duration of surgery. Once the patient’s eye is numb, Dr. Skouras positions an eyelid speculum over the eye to hold the eyelids open.
To start the procedure, Dr. Skouras removes the epithelium, or the cornea’s surface cells. Next, a cool light beam from the excimer laser is used to reshape the curvature of the cornea, with extreme precision.
Once Dr. Skouras is satisfied with the newly reshaped cornea, he inserts an extended-wear contact lens that acts as a bandage and an overlying protective shield. Patients are released into the care of an authorized individual, so they can recover in the comfort of their own home.
Recovering From PRK
Immediately after the procedure, patients must rest with their eyes closed for a few hours. They must also use the medicated eye drops they are given, as instructed. The recovery period generally takes three to four days, as this is how long it takes for the body to regenerate new epithelial cells to cover the surface of the cornea. During the initial phase of recovery, patients might experience sensitivity to light and mild discomfort. They should avoid rubbing their eyes, as this can cause damage and delay healing.
Results of PRK
The recovery period following PRK is longer than with LASIK surgery, again, due to the fact that the body must produce a new layer of surface cells. However, the vision correction results of PRK are the same as with LASIK, and most patients are able to completely eliminate their daily dependence on prescription eyewear.
Risks Associated With PRK
The risks associated with PRK are similar to those associated with LASIK. There is a low risk of clouded, or hazy, vision as the cornea heals; night vision effects such as seeing halos when looking at light sources; glare; a permanent increased sensitivity to light; under-correction or over-correction; and regression. Infection, ulcers (sores) on the cornea and increased intraocular pressure and glaucoma are extremely rare but serious potential complications.
To schedule a complimentary assessment to find out if you are an appropriate candidate for PRK, contact Skouras Eye & Cosmetic Centre today by calling (416) 590-0445 or sending us an email.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
― John Lubbock