Photorefractive keratectomy, better known as PRK, is a type of laser eye surgery used to correct mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness and, or astigmatism .
All laser vision correction surgeries work by reshaping the cornea, or clear front part of the eye, so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. There are a number of different surgical techniques used to reshape the cornea. During PRK, an eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea. This laser, which delivers a cool pulsing beam of ultraviolet light, is used on the surface of the cornea not underneath the cornea, as in lasik surgery.
PRK is highly accurate in correcting many cases of nearsightedness. Approximately 80% of PRK patients have 20/20 vision without glasses or contact lenses one year after the surgery. About 95%-98% have 20/40 or better without glasses or contacts.
As with all procedures, there are risks and side effects. Many PRK patients experience some discomfort in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and almost all experience sensitivity to light. Within the first six months after surgery, other potential side effects may include loss of best vision achieved with glasses, seeing a minor glare, this can be permanent, depending on a patient’s pupil size in dim light and mild halos around images.
After the procedure you will need someone to drive you home. To be most comfortable, you should go home and take a long nap. When you awaken you will notice several things. First you will notice an intense improvement in your vision. It will most likely not be as good as it will get in a few days as your eyes will need to continue to heal. You should expect to feel some mild “grittiness” or like a little sand or dust has gotten into your eyes for up to a day or so. This is normal. As your eyes heal it is normal and expected to be a little sensitive to light and perhaps see some glare or even haloes around lights at night. This too will diminish as your eyes heal.