PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a laser procedure performed by Dr. Laurence T.D. Sperber, MD PC, at his practice in New York, NY. The procedure is performed with an excimer laser, which is used to treat nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness. In PRK, the laser removes a small amount of the corneal surface, gently reshaping the cornea to improve your vision. This is a laser-only procedure—no surgical incisions are made. The excimer laser treatment usually takes less than a minute, and only a microscopic amount of corneal tissue is removed.
The Excimer Laser and PRK
The Excimer Laser treats the surface of the cornea by removing the surface layer known as the corneal epithelium. The Excimer Laser then treats the corneal stroma by removing a microscopic amount of tissue, thus reshaping the cornea. At the conclusion of the procedure, a contact lens is placed on the cornea to help minimize postoperative discomfort.
Pre- and Post-Operative Care
The pre-operative care for PRK is the same as it is for LASIK. Soft lenses should be removed at least a week prior to the exam, and hard or rigid gas permeable contact lenses should be removed at least four to six weeks prior.
The post-operative care for PRK is also similar to LASIK, except that in the first few days after PRK, you may experience a mild to moderate amount of discomfort.
You will be given several drops to use and, if necessary, oral medications may be prescribed. You should expect your vision to be blurry for several days after PRK, but in the few days following the procedure, you will see significant improvement.
It is very important to avoid rubbing your eyes for the first week after PRK, and it is crucial to take your drops as instructed by your doctor.
Potential Side Effects and Complications
PRK has a very high degree of success. Even though the FDA approved this procedure, there may be a small percentage of patients who experience minor under-correction or over-correction, halos, or glare around lights. Usually these symptoms spontaneously disappear. Enhancement procedures may be performed to correct over- or under-correction. 20/20 vision is our goal, but we cannot guarantee perfect vision. Nor can we promise that eyeglasses or contact lenses will not be needed in the future. Our goal is to reduce or eliminate your dependence upon glasses and contact lenses. Any patient at the average age of 40 may require reading glasses.