As with most laser eye surgery, photorefractive keratectomy, also known as PRK, is generally recommended for adults only. Younger people are still growing, and it is better to make changes to the cornea after full maturity. Adults are also better able to care for their eyes and ensure proper healing. People over the age of 18 are able to more clearly communicate to the PRK surgeon exactly what problems they have with their eyes, making it more likely that the surgery results will be good.
How PRK is Different From LASIK
The PRK procedure was actually developed before LASIK. PRK uses a laser to reshape the cornea just like LASIK does, but PRK is an ablation technique, which means the laser is used to remove tissue from the cornea’s outer surface. By contrast, in the LASIK procedure, a portion of the cornea is lifted away from the eye, and the tissue beneath it is altered. Because the unaltered corneal tissue is replaced over the altered cornea, acting like a natural bandage, healing is much faster after LASIK. However, PRK is more effective in certain situations, including:
- Thin corneas
- Oddly shaped corneas
- Cornea is steep in contour
- Patient suffers from lazy eye (amblyopia)
These characteristics of the cornea itself make it more difficult to create a corneal flap to perform LASIK surgery, making PRK a superior option. Evaluation of your cornea can determine if any of these conditions exist.
If you are considering PRK, New York City PRK specialist James Kelly, MD, can determine if PRK or LASIK is the best option to correct your vision. To schedule a consultation or an appointment with Dr. Kelly, please contact Kelly Laser Center in New York City.