PRK is an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, most of which is spent preparing your eye and the laser. The actual treatment time is very short, with most treatments taking just a few minutes.
To prepare for surgery the area around your eyes will be cleaned and a sterile drape will be applied. Anesthetic eye drops will be used to numb your eyes then a small instrument will keep you from blinking during the procedure.
During the first part of PRK a very thin layer of tissue is brushed from the surface of the cornea or is removed using the excimer laser.
The second step of PRK is the laser reshaping which takes just seconds. During this time you will be asked to look directly at a fixation light in order to accurately center the laser beam. The Excimer laser will be programmed with the information gathered in your pre-operative exam. The entire treatment will be completed in less than a minute or two, depending on the amount of correction needed. After the laser reshaping is complete, an extended wear contact lens is placed on the cornea. in order to speed the healing process and reduce discomfort.
Most people see well enough to drive 5 to 7 days after the procedure and can resume their normal activities at that time.
Following your procedure you will be given additional eye drops, and your eyes will be shielded with transparent plastic goggles. Your vision will be a little blurry so we recommend a driver for the ride home. You should relax for the rest of the day. Discomfort may last 2 to 5 days, but is helped with an over-the-counter pain relievers and drops that will be provided to you. It is normal to experience light sensitivity and tearing of the eyes for a few days after PRK.
Most people see well enough to drive on the third day after the procedure and can resume their normal activities at that time.
Vision can fluctuate for up to six months, but most people can see well enough to pass a driver’s license vision exam a week or two after the procedure.