Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser eye surgery — specifically a type of refractive surgery. A refractive problem is where your eyes don’t bend light properly, which keeps you from seeing your best. There’s a chance that after your PRK you might not need your glasses or contact lenses anymore, or at least only for certain activities like reading or driving at night.

Read the below article about PRK eye surgery by Pritish Kumar Halder:

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure

Why is photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) performed?

A photorefractive keratectomy is performed to treat refractive errors in your eyes. By using a laser to change the shape of your cornea, this procedure improves the way rays of light are focused on your retina. You may need a PRK if you’ve been diagnosed with the following eye issues:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness).
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness).
  • Astigmatism (the shape of your eye causes blurry vision).

Who can have a photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)?

You have to meet certain requirements in order to have a PRK. In addition to having a conversation with your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) about what to expect, you need to:

  • Have healthy corneas and healthy eyes in general.
  • Have realistic expectations about the PRK. Your surgeon will discuss what to expect and not expect.
  • Be 18 years old, or older.
  • Have an eye prescription that hasn’t changed in the previous year.

You’re not likely to qualify for a PRK if you:

  • Patients who have advanced glaucoma.
  • Ladies who are pregnant.
  • Patients who have cataracts.
  • Ladies who are breastfeeding.
  • Patients who have an eye infection, dry eye syndrome or blepharitis.
  • If you have scars in your eyes.
  • Have a refractive error that keeps changing.
  • Patients who have cornea injuries or diseases.
  • Have a disease that affects healing, an allergy or uncontrolled diabetes.

How do I prepare for photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery?

Before your PRK surgery, you will meet with a healthcare provider who will discuss what you should expect before, during and after your surgery. During this session, your medical history will be evaluated and you’ll have your eyes tested to measure the following:

  • Your pupil size.
  • The refractive error.
  • Your cornea.
  • The general health of your eyes.

Your eye surgeon will answer any further questions you may have. Afterwards, you can schedule an appointment for the PRK procedure.

If you wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses, you should stop wearing them at least three weeks before the date of your screening visit. Other types of contact lenses shouldn’t be worn for at least three days prior to evaluation. Be sure to bring your current glasses so your prescription can be reviewed.

On the day of your surgery, eat a light meal before coming and take all of your usual prescribed medications. Don’t wear eye makeup or have any bulky accessories in your hair that will interfere with positioning your head under the laser. If you’re not feeling well that morning, call your ophthalmologist’s office to determine if the procedure needs to be postponed.

What happens during the photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure?

Your PRK will happen in six steps:

  1. Your surgeon will numb your eyes using eye drops.
  2. They’ll put a holder in your eye to stop you from blinking.
  3. Your epithelium — the outer layer of your cornea — will be removed using a brush, blade, laser or an alcohol solution.
  4. The ophthalmologist will then use a laser to reshape your cornea.
  5. Next, the surgeon will give you nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops, antibiotic drops and steroid drops.
  6. A clear contact lens is usually placed at the end of surgery to reduce irritation during the healing process. It works like a bandage.

What are the disadvantages, risks and possible side effects of the photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure?

All surgeries include risks, and a photorefractive keratectomy is no different. After the procedure you may have:

  • Scars on your cornea.
  • Corneal haze, which is a cloudiness on your cornea.
  • An infection.
  • A glare and halo when you’re around lights, especially at night.
  • Eye pain, irritation and/or watering.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Hazy vision. A medicine called mitomycin C is sometimes used during surgery to minimize the risk of haze after a PRK.
  • Regression, which means that the treatment becomes less effective.
  • Delayed healing.
  • Very, very rarely, patients have experienced worse vision or even blindness.

The outcome is not completely predictable due to variations in individual wound healing, and a small number of patients may still require glasses or additional surgery to achieve their best vision.