Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) offers distinct benefits compared to other types of refractive surgeries. Unlike LASIK, PRK does not involve creating a flap in the surface of the cornea, so the risk of flap complications is nonexistent. Because LASIK requires adequate corneal tissue to create a flap, patients with thin corneas may benefit from choosing PRK surgery over LASIK. Both procedures offer excellent vision results and many patients achieve complete freedom from corrective eyewear. If you are interested in learning more about PRK benefits, candidacy, and cost, contact our Austin, TX, ophthalmology practice and schedule an appointment. During your visit, we will carefully assess your eyes and your vision to determine which type of refractive surgery is right for you.
PRK can correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Although it takes slightly longer to experience optimal visual clarity following PRK as compared to LASIK, both procedures offer the potential for dramatically improved vision. It can take up to six months following PRK for patients to reach peak visual acuity, but once they do, most achieve 20/20 vision or better. Many PRK patients eventually find that they are able to carry out their daily activities with minimal use of corrective eyewear or even no assistance.
Corneal Thickness Considerations
During your initial consultation, we will carefully evaluate the thickness of your corneas to determine your candidacy for refractive surgery. Patients with thinner corneas may not have adequate tissue to create the flap required for LASIK surgery.
PRK is not only better suited to patients with thin corneas, but it also offers additional benefits during and after the surgery.
PRK, however, uses laser technology to reshape the cornea after the top layer of corneal tissue is completely removed. For this reason, PRK is often a more suitable choice for patients with thin corneas.
PRK is not only recommended to patients with thin corneas more often, but it also offers additional benefits during and after the surgery. During the procedure, the shallower depth of treatment compared to LASIK can lower the risk of side effects. And after PRK, patients also experience a reduced risk of compromised corneal thickness.
No Risk of Flap Complications
The flap created on the surface of the cornea during LASIK poses the risk of potential complications. During LASIK, the flap is created and then hinged open, the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped, and then the flap is closed and left to heal naturally. In some cases, however, the flap fails to properly adhere to the surface of the eye once it is put back in place. Microscopic wrinkles, called striae, can also develop in the flap tissue. In order to ensure proper flap healing, LASIK patients are often advised to avoid contact sports and certain other activities for several weeks following the procedure.