While LASIK vision correction is the most well-known type of elective eye surgery, not everyone is a good candidate. However, there is another type of vision correction surgery available called PRK, short for photorefractive keratectomy. PRK has been around for longer than LASIK, and is just as safe and effective.
Our experienced eye surgeons perform PRK eye surgery for men and women who may not be good LASIK candidates. Call Kirk Eye Center today at 708-397-8080 to schedule your consultation and take the first step toward obtaining great vision.
What Is PRK?
PRK is a type of vision correction surgery that has been practiced for decades. It even predates LASIK surgery. PRK works in much the same way as LASIK, in that it corrects refractive vision errors through reshaping the cornea. The main difference between the two procedures is that while LASIK creates a small flap in the cornea through which the underlying tissue can be reshaped, PRK removes the outer layer of the cornea entirely in order to reshape the tissue.
The outer layer of the cornea (called the epithelium) grows back over time. However, the time it takes to grow back means that recovery is not as fast as with LASIK. This is the main drawback of PRK and why LASIK is typically preferred; however, although the recovery time is not as fast, it is still tolerable and most patients find that their improved vision is worth it.
Benefits of PRK
The benefits of PRK are the same as LASIK:
- Improved vision
- No need for glasses or contacts
- Improved quality of life for many patients
PRK also has additional benefits, including:
- Less chance of dry eye syndrome
- Can be performed on people with thin corneas
Laser vision correction, whether through LASIK or PRK, is a life-changing procedure. Many aspects of daily life become less of a hassle, including playing sports, putting on makeup, and even just waking up in the morning without having to reach for your glasses first thing.
Are You A Candidate for PRK?
The ideal candidate for a PRK procedure is someone who is not a candidate for LASIK. These can include patients with:
- Dry eyes
- Thin corneas
- Large pupils
- High prescriptions
- Occupations or hobbies with a high risk of eye trauma
In addition to the above, you should also have healthy eyes with no eye disease, and understand the potential risks and complications that can arise from refractive vision correction surgery. Your eye surgeon will inform you of any potential side effects and let you know if you are a good candidate for PRK.
PRK vs LASIK
The key differences between PRK and LASIK are the way the surgery is performed and the recovery time. PRK and LASIK both use an excimer laser to reshape the corneal tissue in order to correct refractive vision errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, PRK does not utilize a corneal flap - instead, the entire outer layer of the cornea is removed.
Since the outer layer of the cornea is removed, recovery time for PRK is slightly longer than with LASIK. Vision may take up to a month to stabilize, while with LASIK this usually only takes a few days. If you prefer, PRK can be performed on one eye at a time. This will allow you to continue with your everyday activities without being inconvenienced by the slower vision recovery time.
Schedule Your PRK Consultation Today
If you are interested in 20/20 vision or better without glasses, schedule your PRK consultation today by calling Kirk Eye Center at 708-397-8080. We serve patients in Gurnee, River Forest, and other nearby areas of Chicago.