What is PRK?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Photo-refractive keratectomy (fow-tow-ree-FRAKT-ive care-uh-TECK-tuh-mee), or PRK (P-R-K), is an outpatient surgical procedure that uses laser technology to reshape the cornea gently, thus improving eyesight. A computer-controlled ultraviolet beam of light removes microscopic amounts of tissue from the surface of the eye so that it can focus better. PRK was designed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism for people who are tired of wearing glasses and contact lenses. Since no actual cutting is done, very little trauma to the eye occurs, and the recovery time is greatly reduced. You feel little or no pain throughout the surgery, and there is no bleeding whatsoever. The sculpting method of PRK helps retain the strength and integrity of the cornea, which allows for treatment of additional vision conditions, if necessary. Serious complications are extremely rare, although some minor infections and light sensitivity may occur soon after the operation. PRK has a great success rate, but not everyone is a candidate for the operation. If your vision problems are too extreme, PRK is not a practical option. The best way to find out if PRK is right for you is to talk with your eye doctor and take the screening exam required before surgery.

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