PRK - Photorefractive Keratectomy

PRK - Photorefractive Keratectomy

  • A surface treatment to correct shortsight, longsight and astigmatism
  • An option in those with thin corneas
  • Useful in those with corneal scars
  • Useful for low levels of correction
  • Longer recovery
  • Can be uncomfortable

At Centre for Sight, PRK or LASEK is only performed in exceptional circumstances (e.g. if there is an abnormality of the corneal epithelium, scarring or surface irregularity). We do not routinely recommend this procedure because of pain, delayed visual recovery, risk of haze and overall patient satisfaction.

We do not use toxic anti-scarring drugs like Mitomycin C, frequently used without patient knowledge by advocates of PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK. Mictomycin C is an anti-cancer agent and can denature DNA potentially causing major problems. It is classed as a radio-mimetic, in other words like radiotherapy. Its effect is cumulative and irreversible.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) involves removal of the top layer of the cornea – the epithelium and then reshaping the cornea with the Excimer Laser. A bandage contact lens is placed and the epithelium is then allowed to regenerate. This may take between 3 and 10 days. Unlike LASIK, PRK does not create a permanent flap in the deeper corneal layers.

After the procedure, both PRK and LASEK are more uncomfortable than LASIK or IntraLASIK, and visual recovery can take a few days to a week, compared to only one day with IntraLASIK.

PRK can be very uncomfortable afterwards. Because of this, many practitioners advocate only performing one eye at a time. In special cases, like LASEK both eyes can be treated on the same day.

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