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PRK Eye Surgery – Hoopes Vision, Serving Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden

PRK Eye Surgery Salt Lake City, UtahPRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a surgical procedure that can help to correct and improve vision by reshaping the cornea. PRK may be ideal for patients with thin or damaged corneas, as well as others who are not candidates for LASIK. The surgeons at Hoopes Vision are trained and experienced in performing PRK eye surgery on patients from Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and surrounding communities throughout Utah. Contact Hoopes Vision today to find out whether PRK is right for you.

What Is PRK?

PRK is an effective refractive procedure that can be used to correct farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia), and astigmatism. While the procedure is similar to LASIK eye surgery, the first step of PRK greatly differs from that of LASIK. This is what makes PRK potentially ideal for those patients who are not good candidates for traditional LASIK.

What Is the Difference between PRK and LASIK?

PRK, the earliest form of laser refractive surgery, is similar to LASIK in its goals, procedures, and results. The main difference between these refractive treatments is that the procedure for PRK eye surgery does not involve the use of a microkeratome blade or a laser to create a flap in the top layer of corneal tissue. Instead, a section of the outer, top layer of the cornea – the epithelium – is gently removed during the procedure, eliminating the risk for flap-related complications. This important difference makes laser refractive surgery a possibility for people who are not good candidates for traditional LASIK surgery, including those with thin or scarred corneas. However, the removal of the top layer of the cornea means that the healing time for PRK is longer than that of LASIK.

Who Is a Candidate for PRK?

Ideal candidates for PRK eye surgery are healthy with realistic expectations of the results. Additionally, candidates must have a refractive error that is stable (has not changed for at least a year) and between +5.00 to -12.00 diopters. Patients with pre-existing conditions including collagen vascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, keratoconus, or glaucoma may not be good candidates for PRK.  Patients should notify our surgeons of previous steroid use, as this may also make them ineligible for PRK .

Our surgeons, serving Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden, assess each patient’s candidacy for PRK during a consultation. After a complete eye exam is performed to determine the appropriate level of refractive correction, the eye is measured with many precise instruments to determine the shape, thickness and health of the cornea.  One of these, a corneal topographer, is an instrument that maps corneal irregularities of the eye and allows for a precise level of correction. Our surgeons take all these results into account, along with the patient’s medical history and any pre-existing conditions, in assessing the patient’s candidacy for PRK.

How Is PRK Performed?

While the PRK procedure takes only a few minutes, preparation for the procedure extends the visit to one to two hours. Numbing drops are administered so that the surgeon can operate on the eye without the patient feeling any pain. While LASIK surgery requires the surgeon to create a corneal flap and fold it back to access the inner cornea, PRK requires the surgeon to remove a section of the surface layer (one to two cells thick) of the cornea called the epithelium.

After the section of epithelium has been removed, the surgeon reshapes the cornea with an excimer laser to correct the anomaly that has been causing vision problems. Once the cornea has been reshaped, the area is “bandaged” with a special contact lens that helps the eye feel more comfortable and allows the epithelium to heal.

Important Considerations with PRK

After PRK eye surgery, our surgeons give each patient instructions to follow during the healing period and a prescription for medication to help with pain and inflammation. It is important to take it easy and get plenty of rest during the first few days after the procedure. As with LASIK, patients recovering from PRK eye surgery are advised to avoid rubbing their eyes, as this could disrupt the healing of the corneal epithelium.

Recovery from PRK

Recovery after PRK typically takes longer and is less comfortable than post-LASIK recovery. In addition to wearing the bandage contact lenses, you will also use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. Though the recovery period is longer, PRK provides the particular benefit of being an effective alternative for those who have been deemed to be poor candidates for LASIK due to corneal scarring or other corneal issues.

Contact Hoopes Vision to Find Out Whether PRK Is an Option for You

If you are searching for an alternative to LASIK eye surgery, undergoing the PRK procedure may be the ideal solution. Contact Hoopes Vision, serving Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, and other Utah communities, to learn more about PRK eye surgery and how it can improve your vision.

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