Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a type of laser eye surgery performed to correct a person’s vision by reducing dependency on glasses or contact lenses. Mostly, it is used to correct mild to moderate astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.
During surgery, the cornea (clear front part of the eye) is being reshaped with a laser to the light can pass through it properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye.
ORJ cannot be used to correct presbyopia with happens in all patients over 40 and can be corrected with reading glasses or with contact lenses and laser surgery called monovision.
- Before surgery, a doctor will perform a few tests which can include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, and pupil dilation. Also, the patient should not wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses three weeks prior to surgery and other contact lenses at least three days before surgery.
- During surgery, which takes a maximum 10 minutes for both eyes, the patient will receive local anesthesia. After surgery, bandage contact lenses will be applied and the patient will wear those 3 to 4 days until eyes heal. It is normal at first few weeks for a patient to have clear but also blurry vision and maybe during the night driving or reading patient will need to wear glasses. Also, the eyes will be dry even the patient does not feel that way so the doctor will prescribe patient eye drops. Gradually, vision will be improved for up to 6 weeks to 6 months after surgery.
The advantage of PRK is that approximately 80% of the patients after surgery have 20/20 vision without glasses or contact lenses one year after the surgery and even 95% have 20/40 or better.
Disadvantages of PRK can include irritation and mild discomfort after surgery. Also, the surgery is very expensive, it cost around $2,200 to $2,250 per eye and outcome of the surgery cannot be completely predictable. Some patients still need to use glasses after surgery.