PRK
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is another refractive procedure similar to LASIK to correct your vision. PRK was the most common refractive surgery procedure before LASIK was developed and became a more popular alternative. Dr. Arffa has been performing PRK since 1996 and has treated thousands of patients. Similar to LASIK, PRK can treat nearsightnedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by removing tiny amounts of tissue from the cornea using a cool laser. The main difference between the two refractive procedures is that in LASIK the tissue is removed from under a corneal flap while with PRK the reshaping of the cornea is done directly on the surface of the eye. The results of PRK and LASIK are very similar, and PRK may be a more effective alternative for some patients. The recovery period for PRK can be a bit longer but the results are comparable.

Custom PRK
Custom laser treatment can be performed with PRK just as it can with LASIK. Custom PRK is a procedure that enables further customization of the PRK procedure to your individual eyes. Custom PRK provides an additional level of data about your vision requirements using wavefront technology. A device called a wavefront analyzer measures the way light travels through your eye and compares it to an eye with perfect vision. This device then creates a 3-D wavefront map that is uniquely yours, in the same way that your "fingerprint" is unique to only you. This additional data is then used by Dr. Arffa to customize he PRK laser vision correction procedure to your individual vision requirements.

The actual PRK procedure process is performed the same way in both conventional PRK and Custom PRK. Conventional PRK is an excellent choice for many patients. Dr. Arffa will recommend which procedure is best for you based on your eyes and visual requirements; he will help you to determine if you could benefit from the higher level of customization that Custom PRK may provide.

The PRK Procedure
For the PRK laser vision correction procedure, no scalpels are used and no incisions are made. Once the laser has been properly calibrated and set for your eye, the surgeon will put a few anesthetic drops in to numb the eye and prevent pain. He will then place an eyelid holder in your eye to keep it open throughout the procedure. The cells covering the outer corneal surface (called the epithelium) are removed, and the laser is used to reshape the surface of the underlying cornea. After the procedure the epithelium heals and covers the treated area in about 4 days. A soft contact lens is placed to provide comfort during this time.
PRK Procedure
After PRK, visual recovery to optimum levels usually takes several days to a few weeks. Eye drops are necessary to help guide the healing process, and these usually need to be continued for several weeks after treatment. The basic steps in PRK are shown here.



PRK vs. LASIK
When you come in for your laser vision correction consultation, Dr. Arffa will determine which procedure would be best for your individual situation. Similar to LASIK, PRK can treat nearsightnedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism by removing tiny amounts of tissue from the surface of the cornea. The main difference between the two refractive procedures is that LASIK utilizes the creation of a corneal flap to reshape the cornea while with PRK the reshaping of the cornea is done directly on the surface of the eye. The results of PRK and LASIK are very similar, and PRK may be a more effective alternative for some patients. The recovery period for PRK can be a bit longer but the results are comparable.

Why PRK is sometimes advised instead of LASIK
PRK may be a better option for you if your corneas are too thin for LASIK. PRK may also be a safer option if your corneal topography is abnormal or your eyes are dry. There is a lower risk of some complications such as keratectasia and dry eye after PRK. Also, there is no risk of flap complications, such as improper creation of the flap, movement or wrinkling of the flap or growth of surface cells (epithelium) under the flap. On the other hand, there is slightly greater risk of corneal haze.

How do you know whether LASIK or PRK would be right for you?
We suggest you come in for a visit with Dr. Arffa for a consultation to determine what treatment is right for you.

Call 412-206-0335 or e-mail us at bmcgonigle@drarffa.com



   
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Copyright © 2009 Robert C. Arffa, M.D., 1370 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017