Reliance on prescription eyewear isn’t something that many of us think about until we realize that we simply can no longer see clearly without either glasses or contact lenses. While it may seem like a novelty at first, this can quickly wear off and the inconvenience of having to rely on remembering glasses or putting in or taking our contact lenses can soon hit. You may find it difficult to participate in certain sports or activities, or you may struggle with wearing contacts due to hayfever or simply because you dislike touching your eyes. You might not like your appearance in glasses but are concerned about the expense of contact lenses. You may be fed up with your glasses breaking and the ongoing cost of maintenance.
Fortunately, laser vision correction, and specifically, PRK laser vision correction can eliminate some or even all of your reliance on prescription eyewear.
PRK or Photo-Refractive Keratectomy is a highly popular alternative to LASIK, which is better known. However, what most people don’t realize is that PRK is actually the original form of laser vision correction and many experts, including our own experienced and renowned ophthalmologist, believe that it is still the safest and most effective form of laser eye surgery currently available.
Patients who require prescription eyewear do so because the light that enters their eyes is refracted incorrectly. Rather than hitting the retina directly, it instead, either falls short or is not focused by the time it reaches the retina. In some patients, the curvature of the cornea or the lens also causes irregular refraction. PRK works by reshaping the cornea so that the light refracts correctly directly onto the retina, eliminating any errors and enabling your vision to be much clearer. As such, PRK is suitable for patients who are near-sighted, far-sighted and who suffer from astigmatism.
The process for PRK is not dissimilar to that in other forms of laser vision correction. Once your eyes have been numbed using topical anesthetic drops, the laser will first be used to remove the epithelium, which is the thin layer of tissue over the cornea. This allows for complete access to the underlying corneal tissue.
Next, the laser will be used to reshape the cornea. Exactly what reshaping will occur will depend on your individual refractive error. Nevertheless, the procedure will be planned with pinpoint accuracy using a topographical ‘map’ of your eye for reference.
The entire process takes just a few minutes per eye. The rest of the time in the chair will be spent preparing you for your PRK surgery and ensuring you are comfortable afterward.
This is something that we are frequently asked. Why do we believe that PRK is a superior choice for laser eye surgery? The answer lies in the epithelium. During PRK the entire epithelium is removed and discarded. This is no problem as your body will regenerate it within a week and there is no danger without it. However, the LASIK technique involves simply making a flap into the epithelium, through which the cornea is reshaped.
Unfortunately, the majority of complications that do occur as a result of LASIK do so because of problems with the flap. Tiny specks of debris can become trapped under it when it is closed, it may not heal properly and sometimes there are tiny imperfections along the lines where it heals. While it may take slightly longer for patients to fully recover from PRK, there are absolutely no risks of flap-related complications.
You will experience some initial discomfort, blurriness and distorted vision for several days after your PRK surgery. This is completely normal, and we may prescribe eye drops for you to use during this time while your epithelium regenerates. This will help to keep your eyes comfortable and moist. Your vision will continue to improve over the coming weeks and months, with peak clarity being reached anywhere between three and six months after your laser vision correction.
Dr. Minkvitz will issue you with specific instructions to follow during the period after your PRK laser vision correction, and it is important that you adhere to these to aid your recovery.
If you would like to find out more about PRK laser vision correction, or if you would like to arrange a consultation to discuss your suitability for the procedure, please get in touch with Dr. Minkovitz and our experienced team at our offices in Wilmington, DE today.