Laser Refractive Surgery

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

PRK uses the same excimer laser as LASIK to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK is also known as surface ablation, since laser treatment is performed close to the surface of the cornea, compared to LASIK, where treatment is performed under the flap of the cornea. The laser removes a small amount of tissue to flatten or steepen the cornea to correct the refractive error of the eye.

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) was at one time the most common laser eye surgery.  The eye doctor uses the same excimer laser as the LASIK procedure to reshape the outer layer of the cornea.  These days LASIK is more common, but PRK is still an alternative for patients who cannot undergo LASIK Surgery.

Reasons to consider PRK:

  • Nearsightedness  (myopia).
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia.
  • Astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea).
  • Cornea too thin for LASIK.
  • Pupil too large for LASIK.
    LASIK and PRK have similar results. The difference is certain patients are better candidates for PRK based on the shape and size of their eyes. During your consultation, Dr. Shnayder will determine the best procedure for your eyes.

The Procedure

In preparation for surgery, anesthetic eye drops are administered.  Next, a speculum is placed in the eye to keep the eyelids open, which is normally not uncomfortable.  While the patient fixes his or her gaze on a target, the laser reshapes the cornea by removing tissue (a process called ablation), which is controlled and closely monitored by the eye doctor.  The laser is actually guided by a detailed map of the patient’s eye which has been programmed into a computer beforehand.  The ablation usually takes around a minute for each eye, depending on how high the patient’s vision prescription is.  Most patients feel no pain during the procedure.  After the procedure is complete, a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye.  The patient may go home shortly after the procedure; however, someone else must drive or alternate transportation must be arranged.

The Recovery

PRK patients may experience a few days of discomfort and a slightly longer vision recovery period. Dr. Shnayder may prescribe pain medication for recovery; however, most patients don’t require it since only minor discomfort is experienced.  The doctor will also schedule several check-up appointments to monitor the healing process, followed by periodic visits over the next several months.  During the recovery process, the patient should rest, and refrain from any strenuous activities for at least a week.  Most patients can return to work in a day or two, though it is best to take a few days off to ensure a smooth recovery.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with the eye doctor!