Refractive errors create a need for refractive surgery. These errors mainly result from eye elongation or a cornea without a perfect shape. Refractive surgeries alter the shape of the cornea so that light can bend and focus on the retina without causing blurry images. Thus, refractive surgeries correct or improve your vision.
Various refractive surgeries reshape your cornea. The three main ones are LASIK, LASEK, and PRK.
Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a refractive surgery that corrects mild to moderate myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. It reshapes your cornea to ensure that light entering your eye focuses on the retina.
During the procedure, the doctor numbs your eye so they can remove the outer corneal layer or epithelium. They do not remove all of it, just a thin part. They will also reshape the cornea using a laser. The reshaping ensures that after healing, the cornea can focus light effectively on the retina.
In PRK, the surgeon removes the outer surface of the cornea. This is unlike other refractive eye surgeries. They do not return it. After surgery, the doctor places a band-aid contact on the eye to facilitate healing. The band-aid protects the eye as it heals.
After surgery, you need to take lots of time resting. Closing your eyes and resting helps with recovery and overall comfort. You will also avoid pain and keep your eyes from drying out. The doctor will prescribe eye drops to deal with the pain and dryness.
Take your time. It will enable you to heal faster. Healing from PRK surgery can take six weeks to six months. Hence, take your time and allow for it to take place.
The epithelium takes about three to four days to heal. During this time, you may feel some pain and discomfort. But it continues to become less, and your vision starts to clear. Vision stabilizes over three to six months until your vision correction becomes permanent.
Like LASIK, PRK results are permanent. Hence, there is no way of reversing the surgery. However, it does not prevent your eyes from experiencing the effects of aging. It lessens your dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses.
The effects of aging may cause your reading vision to decline with age. You may also develop cataracts that affect the eye’s natural lens. However, you will enjoy excellent sight before age-related vision problems kick in. If your vision does not change as you age, you can get an enhancement procedure to restore your vision.
The procedure is ideal for people with thin corneas and would not be good candidates for other refractive surgeries. It is also perfect for people who play contact sports or work in jobs that would cause damage to the epithelium that remains behind after refractive surgery. There is less structural damage to the cornea after surgery. There is also less risk of infection or dry eye because it does not affect natural eye irrigation.
For more information on PRK and how long it lasts, visit Laser Vision Delaware at our Wilmington, Delaware office. Call (302) 656-2020 to schedule an appointment today.