Photorefractive Keratectomy (cont.)

What Are the Potential Side Effects of PRK?

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Many PRK patients experience some discomfort in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and almost all experience sensitivity to light. Within the first six months after surgery, other potential side effects may include:

  • Loss of best vision achieved with glasses
  • Seeing a minor glare, this can be permanent, depending on a patient's pupil size in dim light.
  • Mild halos around images

How Do I Prepare for PRK Surgery?

Before your PRK surgery you will have met with a coordinator who will discuss with you what you should expect during and after the surgery. During this session your medical history will be evaluated as well as have your eyes tested. Likely tests will include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, and pupil dilation. Once you have gone through your evaluation, you will meet the surgeon, who 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 not wear them starting three weeks before the date of your surgery. Other types of contact lenses shouldn't be worn for at least three days prior to surgery. Be sure to bring your glasses so your prescription can be reviewed.

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

What Happens During the PRK Procedure?

The PRK procedure is done under local anesthesia and takes a maximum of about 10 minutes to do both eyes. During PRK, an eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea. This laser, which delivers a cool pulsing beam of ultraviolet light, is used on the surface of the cornea, not underneath a flap of the cornea, as in LASIK.

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