PRK Surgery

PRK Surgery Specialist
Dr. John Pilavas is an ophthalmologist who’s board-certified through the American Board of Ophthalmology. He offers several different procedures, including LASIK eye surgery and PRK. Dr. Pilavas encourages patients living in the Astoria, New York, area to visit his office if they have any questions about the PRK procedure and how it can benefit their vision.

PRK Surgery Q & A

by John Pilavas, MD

What is PRK?

PRK, which stands for photorefractive keratectomy, is a refractive surgery used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Lasik surgery was derived from PRK, in fact.

During the first step of PRK, the epithelium, or outer layer of the cornea, is completely removed. Once it’s been discarded, Dr. Pilavas reshapes the cornea to make the patient's vision clearer.

Compared to LASIK, there’s less recovery time with PRK. Also, because the epithelium is completely removed, the risk of infection is slightly higher than in similar procedures.

What are the differences between PRK and LASIK?

Although PRK and LASIK are very similar in the way they’re performed, there are several differences. LASIK only creates a small flap, while PRK involves removing the outer layer of the cornea. PRK and LASIK both require a modest healing time, with the PRK procedure being somewhat longer. The increased recovery time is due to the fact that the cells are allowed to grow back over the excised area.

The invasiveness of the PRK procedure also increases the patient's risk of infection. PRK removes less of the patient's cornea allowing for more accurate results.

Who can benefit from PRK procedures?

PRK offers a variety of benefits to patients who may not be good candidates for LASIK. Patients who have thinner-than-normal corneas, or who’ve had LASIK procedures in the past, may not have a cornea that’s thick enough to support the creation of a flap. By removing the thin outer layer of the cornea, Dr. Pilavas can focus on reshaping the section underneath without removing too much. Although it takes a little while longer for the patient's vision to clear and there’s slightly more discomfort, the results are the same as with LASIK.

Obviously, whether or not a patient makes a good candidate will depend on their particular medical status. Whenever corrective eye surgery is being considered, Dr. Pilavas does a thorough work-up to determine which treatment will work best for the patient.

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