Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK surgery, is the original laser vision correction procedure. In the early 1990’s, when it was introduced, PRK surgery was performed by removing the epithelium layer by scraping it off with a scalpel.
As a result, the procedure caused prolonged healing and excruciating pain. Sometimes, it even caused irregular healing resulting in poor vision. However, the procedure today is much different.
Modern Day PRK Surgery
In the modern day PRK surgery procedure, the eye is numbed with eye drops only. The epithelium is gently removed with alcohol. The Excimer laser is then used break molecular bonds in the corneal tissue, thus changing its shape by ablation. This shape change causes the cornea to focus light rays directly on the retina producing clear vision without glasses or contact lenses. Contrary to popular belief, the PRK surgery procedure is not calibrated to overcorrect initially. The Excimer laser is programmed to make the proper correction.
Prior to the preoperative exam for the PRK surgery procedure, it is important that patients remove their contact lenses for one to two weeks. Contact lenses have the tendency to distort the surface of the eye, preventing the surgeon from getting accurate pre-operative measurements for planning the surgery.
A typical PRK surgery procedure normally takes around four minutes to perform per each eye. And, in contrast to the PRK surgery procedure available in those early days, the modern day procedure does not hurt at all. There is minimal sensation during the procedure and then afterwards, at worst, a patient will have a feeling of an eyelash in the eye or some burning and tearing.
PRK Eye Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
Read a series of questions and answers about PRK surgery.