LASIK Alternatives
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Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK, is performed at our Jefferson City office for patients who are not suitable candidates for LASIK. A highly effective alternative to LASIK, PRK is especially useful when resolving low degrees of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

There are a variety of reasons why one of our physicians may recommend PRK over other treatments for our patients. In general, PRK is preferred over other treatments when the patient has any one of the following conditions:

  • Thin Cornea
  • Irregular Cornea
  • Scarred Cornea

Unlike LASIK, in which a hinged flap is created on the outer layer of the cornea, the corneal epithelium, PRK completely removes the corneal epithelium before reshaping the corneal tissue. Prior to the procedure, your Capitol Eye Care surgeon numbs the cornea with topical anesthetic drops. Your surgeon then ablates the entire corneal epithelium with a cool, ultraviolet excimer laser. Next the computer-controlled excimer laser makes the appropriate adjustments needed to correct the refractive error. After the surgery, you must wear a bandage or special contact lenses to assist with proper regeneration of the corneal epithelium. Your doctor will also prescribe antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory drops that prevent infections and reduce the likelihood of any post-operative complications.

Because the procedure completely removes the outer layer of the cornea, healing time is longer with PRK in comparison to other vision correction options. It takes between three to five days for complete regrowth of the corneal epithelium. Furthermore, improved visual acuity returns to PRK recipients slower than with LASIK. However, the long-term improvements associated with either PRK or LASIK are practically identical.

Post-operative, most patients will need to be re-evaluated one day, three days, one week, one month, two to three months, and four to six months following the PRK procedure. The bandage contact lens can usually be removed on the second or third post-operative day when the epithelium is healed. Most patients will only require eye drops to control healing during the first 6 to 12 weeks, but other patients may require topically applied medications for up to 6 months or more following the procedure. In general, the greater the refractive error, the more likely the patient is to require eye drop medications for a prolonged period following the procedure.