An Alternative to LASIK
PRK EYE SURGERY
As a health care provider, I have a duty and an obligation to act in my patients’ best interests. Eye surgery is a very serious type of surgery, and I am committed to providing my patients the absolute best care possible.
When patients come to see me about their eye surgery options, I get to know them as individuals and learn about their specific visual needs and goals of treatment.
I regularly meet with people who are excited about having LASIK and getting rid of glasses — but not all of them are suitable candidates for LASIK; for some people, LASIK poses too high a risk of complications.
Luckily, there are other options. Instead of LASIK, I may recommend photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK. The procedure delivers the same life-changing results, but the procedural steps are slightly different.
What Is PRK Eye Surgery?
PRK is the predecessor to LASIK and still performed today with great outcomes. Like LASIK, PRK is a laser eye procedure that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, and reduces or eliminates the need to wear corrective eyewear to see clearly. After PRK, my patients can drive, run, exercise, swim and travel without the hassle and inconvenience of glasses or contacts.
PRK Treatment Details
First, I remove the entire layer of surface cells from the cornea instead of creating a hinged flap like I do in LASIK. After removing the surface cells, I use a laser to precisely remove microscopic bits of tissue and reshape the curvature of the cornea.
After the laser treatment, I place a bandage contact lens over the eye to protect it as it heals. In the weeks following the procedure, the surface cells regenerate.
Cost of PRK Eye Surgery
The cost of PRK surgery is based on the specific treatment plan. The best way to get information about the cost of PRK is to schedule an in-person consultation with me. After assessing your visual needs and goals, my team can provide pricing information and talk to you about your payment options. There are several ways to cover the cost of your PRK surgery, including low-interest or interest-free financing plans and flexible spending accounts.
Am I a Good Candidate for PRK Eye Surgery?
You may be a good candidate for PRK if you:
- Have naturally thin corneas. In order to withstand the creation of the corneal flap during LASIK, your corneas must have a certain thickness. If they are too thin, creating a flap can be risky.
PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap; instead, the surface cells are removed altogether and grow back after surgery.
- Are at a heightened risk of flap-related complications. After LASIK, the corneal flap must heal by itself. Although this is not an issue for the vast majority of patients, there are risks for people in certain occupations. For example, if you work in law enforcement, are in the military or play professional sports, there is a slightly higher likelihood that you could dislodge or injure the healing flap.
Since there is no flap to dislodge or injure after PRK, the procedure is a good option if you work in a physically demanding job.
- Have dry eyes. Creating the corneal flap can cut some of the nerves in the cornea, reducing corneal sensitivity. After surgery, the eye may not detect the need for lubrication and may produce fewer tears, leading to dry eye.
If you are prone to dry eye symptoms, a procedure like PRK that does not involve a corneal flap may be more appropriate.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LASIK AND PRK
- RECOVERY TIME
- STABLE VISION
- RISK OF EYE INFECTION
- DISCOMFORT DURING RECOVERY
- LASIK EYE SURGERY
- Most patients typically return to work the next day
- Most patients have stable vision within a few days after surgery
- Low risk of eye infection
- Most patients feel little to no discomfort following surgery
- PRK EYE SURGERY
- Most patients may need a couple days to recover before returning to work
- It can take up to 3 months to have completely stable vision
- Moderate risk of eye infection
- Some patients feel minor discomfort, itchiness, or irritation for a longer period of time following surgery
Think you’re a candidate for LASIK instead?