Photorefractive Keratectomy — PRK

Surface Ablation (PRK) uses the computer-controlled Excimer laser to reshape the surface of the cornea. The eyeball is numbed with an “eye drop” anesthesia. The outer skin, or epithelium is removed with the pulse of the laser. Next, a predetermined amount of tissue is removed with each pulse of the laser thereafter. The resulting shape of the surface of the cornea allows light to focus more directly on the retina. By adjusting the pattern of the Excimer laser beam the surface of the cornea can be made flatter to correct nearsightedness, steeper to correct farsightedness and/or spherical to correct astigmatism.

Who is a candidate for PRK surgery?

Like LASIK, PRK reshapes the cornea and corrects refractive errors that lower vision quality. So, if you have refractive errors and would like to remove the need for wearing corrective eyewear, PRK or LASIK are both great procedures.

But because PRK doesn’t create a flap in the corneal stroma, it could be a better procedure for patients with thin or irregular corneas, or for those concerned about complications with the flap created in LASIK. PRK also is a superior option for patients with large pupils.

The success rate of PRK

Studies have shown the success rate with PRK to be roughly 99 percent when patients are asked if they are satisfied with the results of their laser surgery. Overall, 95 percent of patients achieve 20/40 vision or better. Seventy percent achieve perfect 20/20 vision.

Is PRK surgery painful?

Like LASIK surgery with Dr. Croley, PRK is also painless. We place anesthetic eye drops in both eyes prior to the PRK procedure. This means you’ll feel nothing.

What are the advantages of PRK?

An advantage to PRK over LASIK is the elimination of the flap. This removes the chance for complications with the flap. PRK is suitable for patients with a thin cornea, whereas LASIK may not be. 

What are the disadvantages of PRK? 

PRK can have a slower visual recovery than with LASIK. PRK can take weeks for full recovery of functional vision, whereas LASIK takes only days to return to functional vision. PRK usually also involves more discomfort during the first several days of recovery, with burning or watery eyes. Vision can also fluctuate as the epithelial tissue regrows. Results tend to take longer with PRK than LASIK.

How is PRK performed?

Dr. Croley performs photorefractive keratectomy in our beautiful offices on SW 32nd Avenue in Ocala. The procedure begins with the patient receiving anesthetic eye drops to numb the eye and make the procedure painless. A device is used to keep your eyelid retracted.

PRK has two basic steps:

  1. Removal of the outer corneal layer, the epithelium. This will grow back.
  2. Laser reshaping of the cornea’s middle layer, called the stroma.

The epithelium is removed is one of three ways:

  • It can be soaked with a weak alcohol solution to soften the tissue, making it easy to remove.
  • The outer layers can be removed with a sponge or brush.
  • The outer layers can be removed with the excimer laser that will reshape the cornea.

Once the epithelium is removed, the excimer laser reshapes the cornea. This reshaping corrects the refractive errors that either focus too far (farsightedness) or near (nearsightedness), or when the cornea is more oblong than round (astigmatism).

The surgery takes just 15 minutes.

What will my vision be like after surgery?

After this laser surgery with Dr. Croley, you’ll need someone to drive you home. You may have some mild eye pain for the first 24-36 hours, but this can be handled with eye drops. You will have a “foreign body” sensation in your eyes. It’s wise to nap for a few hours, if possible, to get past the worst of your discomfort. For the first week or two, you may have some blurred vision and your eyes will be more sensitive to light. From there, your vision will continue to improve toward its final excellent state. 

What To Expect During Recovery

Most PRK patients have functional vision in one to three days, and full visual results usually take three weeks to several months (results and healing times vary with each individual). The surgery is done right at Central Florida Eye Institute and a follow-up visit is scheduled for the next day.

Surface Ablation (PRK) Lasik
Range of correction Low to moderate Low to severe
Intraoperative Pain None None
Postoperative Pain Moderate 24-48 hrs. Minimal 12 hrs.
Postoperative Medications 3 mos. or more 1 – 2 weeks
Functional Vision Recovery 3 to 5 days 12 – 24 hrs.
Visual Results Fully Recognized 3 weeks – several mos. 1 – 12 weeks
Return to Work 3 to 5 days 1 day
Risk of Complications Low Low
Risk of Scarring in Central Cornea 1 – 2% Less than 1%

Womans eye with a laser around it preparing for PRK surgery with Dr. CrowleyDr. Croley has been involved with the Excimer laser since 1989 and is the area’s leader in laser vision correction since 1994. He has had vast comprehensive training throughout the United States and Europe and uses the latest technology and optimal care in performing Lasik and Surface Ablation (PRK).

What can I expect from my results?

PRK and LASIK deliver similar results. Most people achieve 20/20 vision after PRK surgery, and nearly all patients achieve 20/40 vision or better. These results are long term. 

However, when patients turn 40, they still may require eyeglasses for close-up vision, such as reading, but this is due to presbyopia and not a degradation of the PRK procedure. Presbyopia is caused by hardening of the lens, which makes it harder to focus. It is not due to refractive errors caused by the shape of the cornea.

Why Choose Dr. Croley

iDesign laser, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, is owned and operated soley by Dr. Thomas Croley. Your treatment and follow-up care is done at Central Florida Eye Institute. Because the Excimer is such a precise instrument, it is never handled by another doctor or technician, nor is it moved from our location. This ensures the most accurate calibration of the Laser.

Patient Testimonial

“I LOVE DR CROLEY! He has given me something that’s priceless, crystal clear vision! I’m so happy with the whole experience at CFEI. I wish our studios were on your side of town so I could see all of you more often!

Thank you Dr. Croley for making me really feel like I’m a member of your family! Looking forward to many more years together spreading the word!”

How Much Does PRK Cost?

The fee for the procedure includes your initial complete eye examination, laser surgery and follow-up visits for a full year. Payment options are available with no down payment.

Contact Us!
To find out if Surface Ablation (PRK) is right for you, call (352) 237-8400 if you are in the Ocala, Gainesville, Lady Lake, Leesburg, or Inverness, Florida area or visit our Contact Us page to request a consultation today!

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