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- What is photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)?
- What vision problems are treated with photorefractive keratectomy?
- Who is a good candidate for photorefractive keratectomy?
- What are the potential side effects and complications of photorefractive keratectomy?
- How do I prepare for a photorefractive keratectomy?
- What happens during the photorefractive keratectomy procedure?
- What follow-up care is needed after a photorefractive keratectomy?
- What is the prognosis after a photorefractive keratectomy?
What are the potential side effects and complications of photorefractive keratectomy?
Long-term undercorrection or overcorrection can result from variable healing rates, inaccuracies in calculations, and unstable refractions such as those of young patients whose eyes are still changing.
Uncommon but potentially serious complications include infection, scarring, and permanent visual blur or distortion. These complications have become less common with improvements in preoperative screening, more sophisticated laser ablation profiles, and better medication regimens for optimized healing.
How do I prepare for a photorefractive keratectomy?
The surgeon first determines if your eyes are suitable for photorefractive keratectomy in the pre-operative screening.
You may be asked to refrain from wearing hard (rigid) contact lenses for up to several weeks or soft contact lenses for several days in preparation for both the preoperative screening and the procedure itself. This is important because contact lenses can temporarily reshape the cornea. You will want your cornea to be in its “natural,” unaltered state when being measured preoperatively and when being treated.
On the day of surgery, do not wear makeup or perfume. Be sure to have your postoperative medications ready and review the instructions for their use.