Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is one of the early methods of laser vision correction, which replaced radial keratotomy (notches on the cornea). The method is well studied and used in cases where more modern methods of laser correction are contraindicated for the patient. Also, PRK surgery for astigmatism is used quite often.
The essence of photorefractive keratectomy is to change the middle layers of the cornea using laser radiation. The laser vaporizes the necessary layers of cells to change the refractive power of the cornea. Thanks to this, a person gains the ability to see clearly and gets rid of myopia, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, in order for the laser to work on the inner layers, it is necessary to remove the top layer of the cornea – this is a key feature of PRK eye surgery.
How the PRK method works
Installation of local anesthetic drops
When performing laser correction, there is no need for general anesthesia – special ophthalmic anesthesia is used, so patients do not feel any pain. In the preoperative drip of a drug that will work in about 15 minutes.
Preparing for the operation
The patient puts on a protective disposable gown and cap, then lies down on the couch. The PRK surgeon tells about the stages of laser correction and how the patient should behave.
Fixation of the eyelid with a special dilator
Some patients note that this is the most unpleasant moment, but it is necessary in order to exclude reflex blinking. The patient is instructed to look straight ahead at a luminous dot.
Removal of the superficial layer of the cornea (epithelium)
In order for the laser to act on the middle layers of the cornea, its epithelium is first chemically softened and then removed mechanically with a special tool (spatula).
The most important and responsible stage of vision correction. The time of laser exposure to the eye is only about 30 seconds, but during this time the shape of the cornea changes, due to which the person regains the ability to see clearly with his own eyes.
Completion of the operation
After the laser is completed, the eye is washed with a special anti-inflammatory solution, and a soft protective silicone hydrogel lens is applied to the eye. It is needed so that the eye is more protected until the end of tissue epithelialization. At first, it is very important not to rub or touch your eyes, so as not to move the lens.
Eyes after PRK
During the operation, the patient does not feel any pain, as proven and reliable drip anesthesia is used.
After the end of the action of anesthetic drops, the patient may experience discomfort and discomfort in the eyes. Since part of the top layer of the cornea is completely removed during photorefractive keratectomy, the eye needs more time to recover and epithelialize. And until this process is completed, a person feels the following symptoms: increased lacrimation, photophobia, a feeling of sand, and slight pain.
Sleep is recommended to reduce these discomforts, and some patients can take a painkiller tablet.
But do not panic, these symptoms do not last long – usually, all discomfort disappears by the day of the postoperative examination (3-4 days after laser correction).
Usually, by the same time, vision is almost restored. However, this may take a little longer, as the rehabilitation itself takes time. Therefore, within 1-3 months, visual acuity can float, and this is absolutely normal. Sometimes, after photorefractive keratectomy, the eyes see a little differently, for example, 1.0 in one eye, and 0.9 in the other. This is a temporary phenomenon, and after 1-3 months, vision should equalize.
It is necessary to attend post-operative appointments with an ophthalmologist in our clinics or in the polyclinic at the place of residence for 7, 30 days, then 6, and 12 months.
Thus, it can be concluded that PRK is a fairly popular and effective method. Before signing up for surgery, you will have to undergo a complete examination. РRK cost will also depend on the nature of your problem and the experience of the doctor who will perform the operation. But regardless of this, with the help of this treatment, you can save yourself from many problems, without much effort.