If I’m Not a LASIK Candidate, Is PRK the Answer?

Have you been told that you do not qualify for LASIK? There are alternative procedures that can allow you to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK may be the most well-known form of laser eye surgery, but it’s not a good fit for everyone. PRK is another method of permanently correcting your vision that provides similar results. 

If you’re not a candidate for LASIK, PRK may be an alternative option for you. Keep reading to learn if PRK may be the answer if you are not a LASIK candidate!

What Is PRK?

PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. PRK can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  

It is a method of laser eye surgery that corrects refractive errors by altering how light is refracted in your eye. When you have a refractive error, the irregular shaping of your eye stops light from focusing on your retina as it should, which causes blurry vision.

PRK corrects this by gently reshaping the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye, with a laser. After your cornea is reshaped, light is able to refract light properly, and you are able to see more clearly.

The procedure itself takes less than thirty minutes to complete. After numbing the surface of your eye, your eye doctor will remove the outer layer of the cornea, referred to as the epithelium.

Then, they will use a specialized laser to reshape your cornea. Your epithelium will regrow over time. 

After the surgery is complete, a contact lens that acts as a bandage will be placed over your eye to support healing. PRK is an outpatient procedure, so you will get to go home the same day. 

How Does PRK Differ From LASIK?

While patients enjoy lasting results from both procedures, there are a couple of slight differences. The most notable one is that PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap.

When you get LASIK, the surgeon must create a flap on the surface of your cornea to access the tissue below that needs reshaping. After the procedure, your LASIK surgeon positions this flap back in place.

With PRK, the surgeon will carefully remove the top layer of your cornea instead of creating a flap. This layer will take time to regenerate. 

Due to the removal of part of the cornea, the recovery time associated with PRK can be longer than that of LASIK. You may also have to visit your eye doctor for additional follow-ups after PRK, compared to LASIK. 

However, with PRK, there is often less opportunity for complications after the surgery since there is no flap.

Who’s a Good Candidate for PRK?

LASIK is typically the first option for a patient considering permanent vision correction. However, not everyone can qualify for LASIK. 

To qualify as a LASIK candidate, your cornea must be sufficiently thick so your eye surgeon can create the necessary flap. If your cornea’s too thin, the procedure may not be successful.

PRK is often a good alternative for those who don’t qualify for LASIK but still want to reduce or eliminate the need for visual aids. With PRK, the laser does not need to penetrate as far into the cornea. So, people with thin corneas can still qualify.

PRK can also be recommended over LASIK for those with dry eyes. The creation of the corneal flap with LASIK can irritate your eye, which can aggravate dry eye symptoms.

Creating the flap with LASIK can also pose a risk for those with very active lifestyles. If you are an athlete or regularly partake in strenuous workouts, the flap can easily become dislodged. 

With PRK, you won’t have to worry about this possibility.

Does PRK sound like it could be a good fit for you? Schedule a PRK consultation at Ginsberg Eye in Naples, FL, today!