Is PRK right for me?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Laser eye surgery has been a relief for millions of people who experienced the inconvenience of eyeglasses or contact lenses. One popular surgical procedure is called photo-refractive keratectomy (care-uh-TECK-tuh-mee), or PRK (P-R-K). Although it’s a relatively safe way to correct mild to moderate vision problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, PRK can’t achieve wonderful results for everyone. If you’re trying to decide if it’s right for you, be sure to discuss the issue with your doctor. The first step is to undergo a simple assessment by a visual specialist to determine the overall health of your eyes, as well as the degree of your visual impairment. PRK isn’t designed to correct extreme cases of nearsightedness or farsightedness, but it’s most effective for slight to moderate levels. Also, you must be at least 21 years old, have a stable lens prescription for a year, and have no active eye disease. Your overall health should be good, and you can’t be pregnant or wear a pacemaker. If you meet all these qualifications, then ask yourself a few questions. Are you absolutely tired of wearing glasses or contacts? Do glasses keep you from playing sports or trying other activities? Do you feel less attractive wearing glasses? Are contacts a real hassle? If so, then you may be a candidate for PRK. Speak with an optometrist or ophthalmologist (off-thal-MALL-oh-jist) to become fully informed about the risks and benefits of laser surgery compared with other available treatments.

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