Do you have a problem with your vision that’s interfering with daily life? Then you may be considering eye surgery. Eye surgery offers long-term benefits and effective results for individuals who want to see better.
Here at WK Eye Institute, we want to ensure your eyes are healthy and your vision is intact. Today we’re going to explain what PRK surgery is and what you can expect.
What is PRK Eye Surgery?
PRK is short for ‘photorefractive keratectomy’. It is a type of refractive surgery to improve vision. A refractive problem occurs when the eyes don’t bend light properly, which makes it harder for a person to see their best.
Why Is Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) Performed?
Photorefractive keratectomy is performed in order to treat refractive errors in a person’s eyes. This is done by using a laser to change the shape of the cornea, which improves the way rays of light are focused on a person’s retina.
Someone may want PRK surgery performed on their eyes if they have been diagnosed with the following conditions:
• Myopia: Commonly referred to as nearsightedness, myopia is when a person’s eyes do not focus correctly, causing distant objects to become blurred and closer objects to appear clearly.
• Hyperopia: Commonly referred to as farsightedness, hyperopia is a refractive error, which means that the eye does not bend or refract light to a single focus correctly. This makes it difficult to see images clearly.
• Astigmatism: This is a defect in the eye or lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature. This results in distorted images.
Who Can Have a Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?
There are certain requirements that must be met before someone can undergo a photorefractive keratectomy surgery.
Individuals who are eligible will need to meet the following criteria:
• Eighteen (18) years of age or older;
• Generally healthy eyes and corneas;
• Have an eye prescription that has not been changed in the previous year; and
• Have realistic expectations of what they can and cannot achieve with PRK surgery.
It’s important to note that there are specific individuals who likely won’t be eligible for PRK surgery. These individuals may include:
• Those who already have advanced glaucoma;
• Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding;
• Those with cataracts;
• Someone with an eye infection or someone with dry eye syndrome;
• Those with refractive errors that are constantly changing; and
• Anyone with a disease that affects healing, has an allergy, or uncontrolled diabetes.
What Are the Advantages of Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?
There are many advantages to PRK surgery for someone with a refractive problem. Here are some of the benefits of undergoing this surgery.
It is estimated that about 90 to 95 percent of individuals who get PRK surgery attain 20/40 vision or better without wearing glasses or contacts.
Similar to Lasik
Lasik is popular eye surgery to correct vision problems like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. PRK surgery offers the same long-term benefits as Lasik. In addition to this, some people are not candidates for Lasik eye surgery, such as those with thin corneas. In this case, PRK surgery may be a great alternative.
Better Option for Athletes
PRK surgery is better suited for athletes or those who regularly engage in contact sports than Lasik. This is because Lasik surgery involves flaps that are made in the cornea, which can easily become dislocated.
Risks & PRK Eye Surgery Side Effects
It’s important to note that every surgery comes with risks. With that said, there are a few disadvantages that can come with undergoing PRK surgery. Here are a few things to consider.
• Corneal Haze: Clouding in the cornea during the healing process.
• Overcorrection: The refractive error was corrected more than what was intended.
• Under correction: The refractive error wasn’t completely corrected as intended.
• Dry Eye: Your eyes can feel dry after surgery.
It’s possible that PRK surgery may come with a few side effects. Here are some side effects to consider.
• Mild to Moderate Discomfort/Itching: It is possible that you may experience mild to moderate discomfort and/or itching after surgery. This typically lasts one to three days.
• Light Sensitivity: You may possess a sensitivity to light for about 72 hours after you’ve had surgery.
• Bursts of Light After Surgery: You may see halos or bursts of light after surgery as the cornea heals. For this reason, you may be given a temporary contact lens.
• Cloudy vision: You may experience cloudy vision, also known as a corneal haze, two to four months after surgery. However, this is rare.
What’s the Prognosis (Outlook) for People Who Have a Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?
Those who undergo photorefractive keratectomy surgery typically see improvement in their vision at about 80% one month after surgery. Improvement will increase to around 95% three months after surgery.