How the PRK Procedure Works

Posted: Apr 06, 2020 by The Eye Center

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is an outpatient elective procedure that improves vision and can eliminate or reduce the need for contact lenses or eyeglasses. Eye clinics in Columbia, SC offer this procedure as part of common corrective vision practices.
 
Here's how the PRK procedure works:
 
  • No incisions or scalpels are used with PRK
  • The laser is calibrated for each patient before the procedure
  • The surgeon uses an instrument to prevent blinking
  • Anesthetic eye drops will be applied to numb the eye and prevent any discomfort
  • The epithelium, or protective surface layer of the eye, is removed because it is too soft to hold any laser correction. Don’t worry-it regrows within five days.
  • The surgeon will use computer-controlled pulses of cooler laser light in order to reshape the curvature of the eye on the cornea. This does not affect the deeper cell layers of the eye.
 
This procedure can be done in as little as five minutes. After completed, the surgeon applies a clear bandage contact lens to the cornea to protect it during the healing process. They will also apply more eye drops to keep the eye moist. Very little of the cornea is removed, approximately a layer the width of a human hair. This ensures that the cornea maintains its original strength.
 
Many times, both eyes can be treated on the same day with the PRK procedure. Sometimes the eye surgeon may choose to do one eye at a time.
 
After surgery:
PRK surgery is a slow healing process. Patients often experience compromised vision and some discomfort throughout the healing process. Typically, surgeons meet with the patient daily after the procedure to ensure the surface layer of the affected eye is healing properly. Once the incision has healed, patients experience either no need for glasses or a significantly reduced need for glasses or contact lenses.
 
Before deciding on any vision correction procedure, be sure to meet with your eye doctor to discuss which option may be best for you.

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