PRK, also known as Photorefractive Keratectomy involves the use of a cool beam of laser light to gently reshape the front surface of the eye. The eye is numbed using eye drops, and the epithelium (a thin protective layer that protects the cornea) is removed. The excimer laser removes layers of the underlying cornea, flattening it. This reshapes the eye to reduce nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness. CustomVue PRK can be performed to increase accuracy and decrease the chance of halo and glare issues.
At the conclusion of surgery, most surgeons rinse the front of the eye with a cold sterile solution. This decreases postoperative pain, and allows more rapid healing. A bandage contact lens is placed in the eye, and the patient is discharged home. After PRK, vision is blurred for three to five days because the epithelium was removed. As this surface level of cells heals, there is usually swelling and some discomfort, as well. The bandage contact lens minimizes discomfort and aids in healing. Some patients experience the sensation of sand in the eye and sensitivity to light. Antibiotic and steroid drops are also used to prevent scarring and infection. The steroid drops are generally continued for three months. With the exception of specific medical indications, Dr. Goldstein rarely recommends PRK for his patients anymore. The superior healing time, recovery and accuracy of LASIK has rapidly become apparent. Patients with thin corneas or dry eyes issues, as well as other medical issues may benefit from PRK. These patients may also be candidates for Implantable Contact Lens surgery (ICL), which does not involve any change in the center of the cornea.