Vision Correction Surgery
Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a laser vision correction procedure that reshapes the cornea to correct mild to moderate conditions of:
- Nearsightedness, or myopia
- Farsightedness, or hyperopia
PRK uses an excimer laser to remove a small amount of the anterior portion, or front, of the cornea to correct refractive errors. Unlike the LASIK procedure, where a flap is created to access the cornea, PRK removes the epithelial, or outer layer, of the cornea so that it can be reshaped using an excimer laser to remove tissue from the surface. This process flattens the cornea and achieves the corneal steepening needed for vision correction.
Advantages of the PRK Procedure
The PRK procedure provides the surgeon with greater control over the location and amount of tissue being removed, which allows patients to enjoy much more accurate results. The PRK method involves gently sculpting the cornea rather than cutting, allowing the surgeon to treat greater degrees of nearsightedness, as well as farsightedness and astigmatism.
Up to 95 percent of patients with a correction of up to -6.00 diopters achieved a vision of 20/40 or better after PRK, with up to 70 percent achieving 20/20.
Some of the advantages of the PRK procedure include:
- Less depth of laser treatment
- Patients with thin corneas are eligible for PRK
- No corneal flap complications
- Candidates for the Photorefractive Keratectomy Procedure
Before LASIK was available, PRK was the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. LASIK has several advantages over PRK, including:less discomfort, faster results and quicker recovery. PRK is still preferred for patients with larger pupils or thinner corneas who are not candidates for LASIK, because PRK maintains corneal strength while providing impressive vision correction.
The PRK Procedure
Before the PRK procedure begins, the eyes are numbed with anesthetic eye drops. The surgeon uses targeted laser energy to then correctly shape the cornea. The surgeon will have complete control over the laser, throughout the procedure, for a highly precise and customized result designed to give each patient the best vision possible. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes to perform.
After the procedure, the eyes will be bandaged with a soft contact lens so that the cornea is protected. New cells, to replace the cells that were removed, will grow back over the next few days. The contact lens will be removed by the surgeon in a follow up examination.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive lens exchange (RLE), also known as clear lens extraction, or CLE, is a surgical procedure for vision correction that replaces the natural lens of the eye with an intraocular lens, or IOL. Using the same surgical techniques as cataract surgery, the clear lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an IOL to change the focusing power of the eye.
An alternative to laser vision correction, the RLE procedure avoids the need for a corneal modification that is used during the LASIK procedure, and instead uses the same procedures performed in cataract surgery.
Patients who choose to undergo refractive lens exchange have several options when it comes to the type of IOL that will be implanted into the eye. The RLE procedure uses the same IOLs used in cataract surgery and is able to treat all types of visual disorders, including farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia and astigmatism. Patients are provided with a choice of the most advanced premium IOLs which will allow them to see clearly at all distances.
The Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure
The refractive lens exchange procedure is performed on an outpatient basis using the same techniques as those for cataract surgery.
A topical or local anesthesia is applied to the eyes to minimize discomfort during the procedure. Through a tiny incision of 3mm or less, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an IOL that is inserted through the same opening. Once inserted, the lens is unfolded and moved into its permanent position in the eye. There are no stitches needed as the incision will be able to seal on its own. The refractive lens exchange procedure takes just 20 minutes to perform and offers patients significant and immediate results.