PRK laser eye surgery, whose acronym is Photorefractive Keratectomy, is a procedure used to correct vision defects. PRK laser offers a different approach from other laser eye surgery methods such as LASIK and ReLEx SMILE, and is particularly applied to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
What is PRK?
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a laser eye surgery procedure that provides an option for individuals who want to reduce or eliminate the use of glasses or lenses. In this method, a thin layer (epithelium) on the surface of the cornea is removed with a laser, and the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped to correct vision.
PRK Laser Procedure
- Removal of Epithelial Layer:
In PRK, the thin epithelial layer on the surface of the cornea is removed with a laser. This step does not require the creation of a flap, as in the LASIK procedure.
- Cornea Reshaping:
The laser shapes the corneal tissue in a specific way to correct myopia, astigmatism, or hyperopia. The eye surgeon programs the laser application based on the individual’s specific vision impairment.
PRK Laser Eye Surgery Recovery Period
The recovery process following PRK surgery varies depending on the individual’s overall health, eye health, pre-existing vision impairment, and adherence to the doctor’s recommended instructions. Blurred vision and discomfort may be experienced in the initial days, but improvement is observed over time. It is important to avoid certain activities post-surgery and adhere to the follow-up program recommended by the doctor.
Advantages of PRK Laser Eye Surgery
PRK has advantages that may be preferred in certain cases:
Reduced Tissue Manipulation: In PRK, there is less tissue manipulation since no flap is created on the surface of the cornea.
Thin Cornea: It may be more suitable for individuals with a thin corneal structure.
Flap-Related Complications: The absence of flap creation in PRK can eliminate potential complications related to the flap, as seen in LASIK.
Side Effects of PRK Laser Eye Surgery
PRK surgery is generally a safe procedure, but as with any surgical intervention, some side effects may arise. These side effects can diminish over time and may completely disappear. Potential side effects may include:
- Blurred vision and discomfort
- Temporary sensitivity to light
- Dry eyes
- Night vision problems
Comparison of PRK Laser Treatment and ReLEx SMILE
- PRK: No flap is created; the epithelial layer on the corneal surface is removed with a laser.
- ReLEx SMILE: A thin layer of tissue called lenticule is created inside the cornea; no flap is made.
- Operated Area:
- PRK: A more superficial procedure, focusing on the surface of the cornea.
- ReLEx SMILE: A deeper procedure, involving cuts within the cornea and removal of the lenticule.
- Recovery Process:
- PRK: The regeneration of the epithelial layer may take a bit longer.
- ReLEx SMILE: Generally, it has a faster recovery process.
- Dry Eye Issue:
- PRK: There may be a dry eye issue, but it is generally less likely compared to other methods.
- ReLEx SMILE: Associated with fewer complaints of dry eyes.
PRK Laser vs. LASIK Laser
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) are two different laser eye surgery procedures, both used to correct vision defects. However, there are significant differences between these two methods:
- Flap Creation:
- PRK: In PRK, the thin layer on the corneal surface, called the epithelial layer, is removed with a laser. No flap is created.
- LASIK: In LASIK, a cut is made in the upper layer (flap) of the cornea. This flap is lifted, and the underlying corneal tissue is shaped before repositioning the flap.
- Operated Area:
- PRK: PRK focuses the laser application on the surface of the cornea, defining it as a more superficial procedure.
- LASIK: In LASIK, the surgical process occurs deeper within the cornea after the creation of the flap.
- Recovery Process:
- PRK: The recovery process after PRK surgery may take a bit longer. Due to the removal of the epithelial layer, eye healing may take several days.
- LASIK: Recovery after LASIK is generally faster because the flap allows for quicker healing.
- Dry Eye Issue:
- PRK: PRK laser treatment may be associated with less dry eye issues compared to LASIK, as it affects the nerve fibers on the corneal surface less.
- LASIK: LASIK, by creating a flap, can affect nerve fibers on the corneal surface, potentially leading to dry eye problems.
- Cut Size:
- PRK: No cut is made in PRK surgery; only the epithelial layer is removed.
- LASIK: A larger cut is made to create a flap in LASIK surgery.
Both methods can correct vision defects such as myopia, astigmatism, and hyperopia. However, the preference for one method over the other depends on individual eye conditions, pre-surgical assessment results, and personal preferences. An eye doctor will assist in determining the most suitable method for individual needs.
Eligibility for PRK Laser Eye Surgery
Eligibility for PRK surgery varies based on an individual’s eye health, vision impairment, and overall health. An ideal candidate for PRK typically possesses the following characteristics:
- Should be 18 years of age or older.
- Vision prescription should have remained stable for a period.
- Refractive error should be a type that can be treated with PRK.
- Should have a healthy corneal structure.
- The general health of the eyes should be good.
Conditions Not Suitable for PRK Laser:
- Continuous fluctuations in vision prescription.
- Presence of advanced glaucoma.
- Existence of cataracts negatively impacting vision.
- Uncontrolled diabetes.
- Issues with wound healing.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Presence of corneal diseases.
Cost of PRK Laser Eye Surgery
The cost of PRK surgery varies depending on geographic location, the surgeon’s experience, the quality of the equipment used, and the chosen clinic. Prices are generally more affordable compared to Western countries. In Turkey, the costs of PRK surgery are typically more cost-effective.
PRK Laser Eye Surgery Reviews
Many individuals who undergo PRK Laser Eye Surgery report experiencing a faster recovery process than expected after the operation. Numerous patients express a significant improvement in their vision after the surgery, accompanied by minimal pain and discomfort. Some patients highlight that PRK tends to cause less dry eye issues compared to other laser eye surgery methods. This is particularly noteworthy as it contributes to increased postoperative comfort and satisfaction in being free from the use of glasses or lenses. However, since each person’s experience can be different, it is essential to have a detailed consultation with an eye doctor when deciding on PRK Laser or other eye surgery options.
Frequently Asked Questions
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is a laser eye surgery method used to correct vision defects. In this procedure, the thin layer on the surface of the cornea, known as the epithelial layer, is removed with a laser, and the underlying corneal tissue is shaped.
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The superiority of one method over the other can depend on the individual’s eye condition, pre-surgical assessment results, and personal preferences. An eye doctor will assist in determining the most suitable method for individual needs.
Generally, PRK is considered a more economical option than LASIK. However, costs can vary depending on geographic location, the surgeon’s experience, and clinic selection.
Yes, PRK laser surgery is generally a safe procedure. However, like any surgical intervention, there are potential risks. Appropriate evaluation and selecting suitable candidates can minimize these risks.
Disadvantages of PRK include a somewhat longer recovery process, blurred vision and discomfort in the initial days, and a slightly longer recovery time due to the absence of a flap on the corneal surface, unlike LASIK.
There is generally minimal pain during the PRK procedure. However, discomfort and sensitivity to light may be experienced for a few days after surgery.
The PRK procedure is usually completed in a short time, typically ranging between 15-20 minutes for each eye.
Usually, a person can return to normal daily activities within a few days after the PRK procedure. However, the complete healing process may take several weeks.
PRK is designed to correct distance vision defects. Presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) is generally not corrected by such procedures. However, in some cases, presbyopia can be managed with monovision or other methods. Consulting with an eye doctor is important in this regard.