What Is Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?
Most people think of surgeries to eliminate eyeglasses or corrections of farsighted, nearsighted, or astigmatism vision as LASEK or LASIK surgeries. The crucial thing to remember is that with the advancements in technology, Femto LASIK replaced LASIC and that the more precise name of LASEK is PRK. PRK is the most common surgery for correcting refractive errors. But what exactly is meant by PRK in Iran?
PRK is short for Photorefractive keratectomy and is a type of refractive surgery to treat refractive errors. Refractive vision errors occur when the cornea is unable to bend and reflect light correctly. Generally, the cornea is responsible for bending light in the direction of the center of the retina. Refractive errors happen when the cornea is ineffectual in directing the light right at the center of the retina. PRK uses excimer lasers to contour and change the shape of the cornea and is effective in treating myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. This treatment can curtail your need to use eyeglasses and contact lenses and, in most cases, can even make them unnecessary. Getting treated for PRK in Iran ensures you a safe and cost-effective treatment under the supervision of competent ophthalmologists and surgeons.
Suitable PRK Candidates
Usually, patients who are not good candidates for having treatments such as LASIK are suitable candidates for PRK. This is because types of refractive surgery, such as LASIK require you not to have thin corneas, severe dry eyes, or very active lifestyles. But as the PRK technique does not include many corneal tissues to be removed and no flap is made during the procedure, it is a good choice for patients seeking alternative options to other laser vision correction methods.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to meet specific criteria to be an eligible candidate for PRK surgery. These criteria include:
- Overall good eye health
- A stable eye prescription, at least for the last year, as PRK would not help myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism that is progressing. These conditions may potentially be reversed after the surgery unless the patient meets the stable prescription criterion.
- Being over 18 (or in most cases over 21, as the vision is most likely to stop changing at this age)
- After a comprehensive eye exam, your ophthalmologist confirmed that your refractive error is treatable with the PRK method.
You may not be suitable for PRK surgery if:
- You are under 18
- You are a pregnant or a nursing woman
- You have a history of specific eye problems, such as recurring eye infections
- You have an eye problem such as cataract or advanced glaucoma
- You have a health issue that might affect healing or persistent scarring
- You have a scrape on the surface of your cornea, an issue called corneal abrasion and erosion
- You are dealing with uncontrolled diabetes
It is also worth mentioning that only the ophthalmologist can suggest the most efficient kind of treatment after performing professional examinations, examining the patient’s eye condition, and running tests.
How Is PRK Performed?
- Before the Surgery
Before performing the surgery, your ophthalmologist will visit you in a series of appointments to check and recheck your various eye measurements. In these appointments,
- he will inform you of what to expect during the procedure and walk you through recovery and aftercare processes.
- He will measure the size of your pupils.
- Other possible eye conditions will be checked, as well as refractive errors.
- He will also use laser technologies to scan your eyes and make a map of its surface. This map is called a topography and shows your eyes’ surface in detail. These details will help your surgeon to plan the procedure accordingly.
- He will also perform a WaveScan, which creates a unique map of your vision and is like a fingertip. The WaveScan technology helps your ophthalmologist capture precisely your refractions and eye abnormalities. The detailed map and the WaveScan are then uploaded to the computer that drives the excimer laser. This laser uses iris recognition technology or iris registration to recognize your left eye from your right eye and knows precisely the refractions unique to each eye, which excludes the chance of performing surgery on the wrong sites.
- During the Procedure
The whole process takes about 15 minutes and is an outpatient surgery. Your surgeon will use your eye prescription, your WaveScan, and the detailed map of your eyes to determine how much corneal tissues should be removed. He will use anesthetic drops to numb your eyes and place an eyelid holder to prevent you from blinking during the procedure. Your ophthalmologist will then soften and remove the cornea layers (called the epithelium) using an alcohol solution, special brush (the Amoils brush), or laser. After firing, your surgeon asks you to concentrate on a red light to keep your pupils from moving. Your surgeon will start the PRK procedure using a cool excimer laser in this stage. Using this laser, he will alter your cornea’s shape and correct refractive errors. After this process, the ophthalmologist will place a soft contact lens on the cornea; this lens acts as a bandage to help protect the cornea while it is healing. During post-surgery examinations, the surgeon removes the contacts.
- PRK Recovery and Aftercare
Although PRK is an outpatient procedure, you still need a friend or a family member to drive you home. You should rest and avoid any products that might irritate your eyes for a few days. After the surgery, you may experience a mild discomfort and short-term blurry vision, which will disappear in a week. You can ask your doctor for over-the-counter or prescription eye drops to reduce the pain. According to research, almost 95 percent of the patients undergoing PRK surgery achieve a 20/20 visual activity.
Why Should You Perform PRK in Iran?
Performing and diagnosing ocular conditions is a delicate and precise matter that requires highly skilled ophthalmologists and medical experts. Because of these matters, many decide to perform eye-related surgeries in reputable hospitals worldwide. Nevertheless, performing an ocular surgery under the supervision of a highly skilled surgeon and in a reputed hospital is a costly matter. These two matters are precisely why you should consider having your surgery for PRK in Iran. Utilizing the most advanced ocular gear and highly skilled ophthalmologists while getting a cost-effective treatment are two essential factors for choosing surgery for PRK in Iran.