Laser vision correction duplicates the curve from your glasses or contact lens prescription on your eye. In Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK), this is accomplished by reshaping the surface layer of your cornea. In LASIK, the inner corneal layer is reshaped. Both PRK and LASIK are painless, outpatient procedures, taking only minutes to perform.
For many patients with irregular corneas, emergency medical professionals, individuals in the armed forces, and professional athletes involved in contact sports, PRK is preferred to LASIK for the correction of Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and/or Astigmatism.
Unlike LASIK, PRK doesn’t require an incision in the cornea. For someone with unusually thin corneas, for example, this is a huge advantage since the long-term structural integrity of the eye is not compromised by PRK. During PRK, the thin outer membrane of the cornea, called the epithelium is loosened and then removed, exposing the surface of the thick central part of the cornea, called the stromal bed. The laser then reshapes the stromal surface (thus the PRK moniker, “surface ablation”) according to the patient’s vision error.
The entire process takes just minutes to perform. The epithelium then heals over the exposed surface during the following several days, during which time the eye can experience varying degrees of irritation. Although vision is typically improved immediately following the procedure, maximum vision recovery can take several weeks.
While the PRK post-op recovery is longer than LASIK, this is a relatively small price to pay to enjoy visual outcomes comparable to LASIK, but without the unique risk that LASIK poses for some patients. In fact, PRK outcomes are considered so good, that the U.S. Navy has recommended the procedure for naval aviators. In a major PRK study undertaken by the Navy, 95% of pilots and flight crew achieved 20/20 or better, 80% 20/16 or better, and 50% 20/12.5 or better (20/12.5 is far superior to 20/20)!
PRK with Dr. Griffiths has enabled our patients to substantially improve the quality of their lives.