PRK: An Alternative To LASIK Eye Surgery

black and white image of a woman smilingThe most common form of laser eye surgery, LASIK eye surgery, is not the only eye surgery option to correct refractive errors causing vision problems. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is one LASIK alternative. Also known as LASEK, PRK is commonly used to correct mild to moderate refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Selecting the right vision correction option for you can be confusing, turn to your eye doctor for recommendations on the option that is best for you or schedule a consultation with the Dallas PRK specialists at Key-Whitman.

PRK is the predecessor of LASIK eye surgery, which corrects vision by reshaping the cornea to properly focus light on the retina by creating a small flap in the cornea, then reshaping the eye. The entire PRK procedure takes less than 30 minutes. During the PRK eye surgery procedure, the microscopically thin outer layer of the cornea is removed; PRK does not require the creation of a flap in the cornea. The laser reshapes the underlying corneal tissue by emitting a computer-controlled beam of light that removes the exact amount of tissue in a matter of seconds.

Pros of PRK

PRK offers a few distinct benefits to patients. One great benefit of PRK is that it gives another option to patients whose corneas are too thin for LASIK, or who have undergone previous LASIK eye surgery. With PRK, there is no risk of cornea flap complications, because a flap is not created. PRK also offers a reduced risk of removing too much of the cornea during surgery. PRK is highly accurate in correcting nearsightedness, with an estimated 80 percent of patients experiencing 20/20 vision without glasses or contact lenses one year after surgery.

Cons of PRK

There are also a few disadvantages to PRK over LASIK. Recovery time from PRK is typically longer than with LASIK, as it will take a few days for the new epithelial cells that were removed during surgery to regenerate and cover the cornea. There is also a slightly increased risk of infection with PRK, and patients may experience more eye discomfort during recovery compared with LASIK surgery.

If you are considering laser eye surgery to correct your vision, contact the Dallas eye surgeons at Key-Whitman to discuss the options and select the procedure that is best for you.