PRK, (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy), is used to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, In this process the epithelium (topmost layer of the cornea) is removed. Then the cornea of the affected eye is reshaped by a computer controlled eximer laser.
However, PRK has its drawbacks, too. Patients do experience discomfort for 24-48 hours while their epithelium regenerates. Unstable vision for a few months is not uncommon. Some may experience varying degrees of corneal haze or cloudiness. Typically both eyes are not treated at the same time, though they potentially could be. Patients typically wear bandage contact lenses for pain reduction for a few days while the epithelial tissue regenerates and use postoperative eyedrops for four months.
Although PRK sculpts only a tiny amount of tissue from the cornea, it is a surgical procedure and thus the outcome cannot be guaranteed. Any surgical procedure should be undertaken only after careful consideration of the likelihood of success and consequences of any possible risks or side effects. Thorough professional advice from a qualified eye surgeon or surgeons is required before any eye treatment is undertaken. Predictability can be defined in several ways- we favor a percentage approach to achievement of visual goals, with 20/20 uncorrected vision being ideal and 20/40 uncorrected vision being okay or acceptable. Uncorrected vision of 20/40 still allows driving without glasses. Most PRK facilities and machines report that 65-70% of patients with correction up to -6.00 diopters can expect 20/20 uncorrected vision post operatively. The percentage with 20/40 uncorrected acuity is 90-95%. Corrections less than -6.00 diopters will have better odds and corrections greater than -6.00 will have lower odds. The safety of the procedure is judged on the basis of the chance of a possible complication. Serious complications are extremely rare. Infection is the most worrisome complication and fortunately it can usually be eliminated with antibiotic medications. Other possible problems include delayed surface healing, corneal haze and or scarring, over or undercorrection, and the development of astigmatism. Some individuals can have a poor or excessive healing response. Again most complications remain treatable with medications or further surgery.
It is also important to separate the normally expected side effects of surgery and healing from real complications. Immediately after surgery some people have discomfort, although the use of bandage contact lenses and medications usually control this nicely. Light sensitivity is almost universal and halos and other unusual light effects can occur. Vision can be reduced while healing and from the normally planned overcorrection. Medical professionals and their associates consider this treatment as experimental as longterm side effects are not yet known. You must discuss and fully understand all of these possible side effects and problems prior to surgery. Hopefully, the information here will assist you in that process.