PRK - Advanced Surface Treatment
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) or advanced surface treatment is a form of laser vision correction where the re-shaping of the cornea is performed at the surface of the cornea instead of deep under a flap as in LASIK. As such, more of the corneal substance is left untouched in PRK, making it a safer procedure, especially for thin and irregular corneas. The patient is left with a corneal abrasion that takes a few days to heal, and the vision improves slowly over several days.
Benefits of Surface Treatment
The laser used for vision correction is the same as LASIK, and the visual results are essentially the same as well. Studies of customized vision correction have even suggested slightly better visual results with PRK than LASIK. This may be because the corneal flap created for LASIK may induce slight visual changes, while PRK avoids the flap. Additionally, since the corneal laser ablation is done at the surface, and not deeper in the cornea, there is less dryness following PRK, than LASIK.
LASIK or PRK?
Having mentioned the benefits of PRK, LASIK is still the procedure of choice for most of our patients in Columbus and Newark, Ohio. Slow recovery of vision and the initial discomfort from the abrasion induced by PRK are the major downsides. A somewhat rare corneal haze can also occur with PRK especially with extensive unprotected exposure to UV light in the first year following the procedure. This is usually treatable with eye drops or additional laser. PRK is recommended if the integrity of cornea is in question and cutting a LASIK flap may further weaken the cornea. In the past, some branches of the armed forces only allowed PRK. Some patients who are good LASIK candidates also choose to have PRK for its safety.
The LASIK procedure was simpler than I thought. Now I see 20/20. Bloomberg Eye Center made me feel at ease. I found out how fortunate we are to have Bloomberg Eye Center in our backyard.