Farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, is a common refractive error that affects a significant portion of the population. Individuals with farsightedness experience difficulty in focusing on nearby objects, leading to blurred vision and eye strain. While corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses are commonly used to address this issue, there are advanced surgical procedures available that can provide a more permanent solution. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is one such procedure that offers effective vision correction for farsightedness.
What is PRK?
PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a laser eye surgery technique that corrects refractive errors by reshaping the cornea. It is considered a predecessor to LASIK surgery and is particularly suitable for individuals with farsightedness, as well as other refractive errors such as nearsightedness and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK, PRK does not involve creating a corneal flap but instead removes the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) before reshaping it with a laser.
Farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is shorter than normal or the cornea is flatter, causing light entering the eye to focus behind the retina instead of directly on it. This results in nearby objects appearing blurry, while distant objects may still appear clear. Common symptoms of farsightedness include difficulty in reading or focusing on close-up tasks, eyestrain, headaches, and general visual discomfort.
Preparing for PRK Surgery
Before undergoing PRK surgery, it is essential to consult with an experienced ophthalmologist who will assess your suitability for the procedure. During the consultation, the ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye examination, evaluate the thickness and shape of your cornea, and discuss your expectations and potential risks. They will explain the PRK procedure in detail and address any concerns you may have.
On the day of the surgery, you will be given local anesthesia to numb your eyes and ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. The surgeon will then gently remove the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) using a specialized instrument or a laser. This step may cause a temporary sensation of pressure or mild discomfort.
After the epithelium is removed, a cool ultraviolet laser beam will be used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. The laser precisely removes microscopic amounts of tissue to reshape the cornea, correcting its refractive error. The amount of tissue removed depends on the specific vision prescription and desired correction.
Once the cornea is reshaped, a protective contact lens will be placed on the treated eye to aid in healing and provide comfort. The contact lens will typically stay in place for a few days while the epithelium regenerates.
Following PRK surgery, it is normal to experience some discomfort or mild pain, which can be managed with prescribed pain medication and lubricating eye drops. It is important to follow the post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon, which may include using prescribed eye drops to promote healing and prevent infection.
During the initial recovery period, your vision may be blurry or hazy as the epithelium regrows and the cornea heals. It is crucial to avoid rubbing your eyes and to protect them from irritants such as dust or wind. It may take a few days to a couple of weeks for your vision to stabilize and improve.
Results and Benefits
PRK surgery for farsightedness can yield significant improvements in vision clarity and focus. Many individuals experience reduced reliance on corrective lenses or, in some cases, complete freedom from them. The results of PRK are generally stable and long-lasting, providing improved vision for years to come.
- Improved Vision: The primary goal of PRK is to improve vision by correcting farsightedness. After the procedure, many patients experience significant improvement in their near and distant vision, reducing their reliance on corrective lenses.
- Glasses and Contact Lens Independence: PRK can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses in individuals with farsightedness. Many patients can achieve clear vision without relying on corrective eyewear following successful PRK surgery.
- Long-lasting Results: The corneal reshaping performed during PRK is permanent, meaning that the results are typically long-lasting. While the eyes can still undergo age-related changes, PRK can provide a stable and durable correction for farsightedness.
- Non-Invasive: PRK is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t involve creating a corneal flap like LASIK does. Instead, the surgeon removes the outermost layer of the cornea (epithelium) and then reshapes the cornea with the laser. This approach may be suitable for individuals with thin corneas or those who may have been deemed unsuitable for LASIK.
- Safety: PRK has a strong safety profile and has been performed for several decades. The excimer laser used in PRK surgery is highly precise and can accurately reshape the cornea, minimizing the risk of complications.
- No Flap-Related Risks: Unlike LASIK, where a corneal flap is created, PRK eliminates the potential risks associated with flap complications, such as flap dislocation or flap-related dry eye.
Potential Risks and Complications
- Undercorrection or Overcorrection: There is a chance that the desired correction may not be achieved, and you may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses after PRK. In some cases, the correction may be excessive, resulting in overcorrection and nearsightedness.
- Regression: Over time, some patients may experience a partial regression of the initial correction. This means that the vision may gradually become less clear, and additional treatment may be necessary.
- Visual Disturbances: Following PRK, you may experience visual disturbances such as glare, halos around lights, or increased sensitivity to light. These symptoms are usually temporary but can persist in some cases.
- Dry Eyes: PRK can cause temporary or, in rare cases, persistent dry eyes. Dryness, burning, itching, and a foreign body sensation are common symptoms. Artificial tears and other lubricating eye drops are typically used to manage this condition.
- Haze or Scarring: During the healing process, some patients may develop corneal haze, which can temporarily affect vision. In most cases, this resolves on its own, but in rare instances, it can lead to long-term visual disturbances.
- Infection: Although rare, there is a risk of infection after PRK. To minimize this risk, antibiotics may be prescribed following the procedure, and it’s crucial to follow proper post-operative care instructions.
- Corneal Ectasia: This is a rare but serious complication where the cornea bulges and thins, leading to vision distortion. It can occur months or years after PRK. This risk is minimized by careful patient selection and appropriate pre-operative screening.
- Epithelial Ingrowth: In some cases, the epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea, may grow abnormally under the flap created during PRK. This can cause visual disturbances and may require additional treatment.
- Delayed Healing: Some individuals may experience delayed healing of the cornea, which can result in prolonged discomfort and blurry vision.
Choosing a Qualified Surgeon
Selecting a qualified and experienced surgeon is crucial for a successful PRK procedure. It is recommended to research and choose a reputable surgeon who specializes in refractive surgeries.
Here are some steps to help you choose a qualified surgeon:
- Research and gather information: Start by researching local eye clinics or refractive surgery centers that offer PRK. Look for experienced surgeons who specialize in refractive surgery and have a strong track record in performing PRK procedures.
- Check qualifications and credentials: Verify the surgeon’s qualifications and credentials. They should be board-certified and have specialized training in refractive surgery or cornea-related procedures. Look for memberships in professional organizations such as the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) or the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
- Review experience and expertise: Evaluate the surgeon’s experience in performing PRK surgeries. Inquire about the number of PRK procedures they have performed and their success rates. Surgeons with a significant volume of surgeries and a good track record are more likely to deliver successful outcomes.
- Seek recommendations and read reviews: Ask your ophthalmologist or optometrist for recommendations or seek referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have undergone PRK. Additionally, read online reviews and patient testimonials to gain insights into others’ experiences with the surgeon.
PRK surgery offers a viable solution for individuals with farsightedness, providing enhanced visual clarity and reducing or eliminating the need for corrective lenses. By reshaping the cornea, PRK corrects the refractive error associated with farsightedness, leading to improved near and distance vision. While PRK does involve a recovery period and potential risks, the procedure has proven to be safe and effective for many patients.
If you’re considering PRK for farsightedness, it is essential to consult with a qualified ophthalmologist to determine your suitability for the procedure and discuss your expectations. A skilled surgeon can guide you through the process, provide personalized care, and help you achieve optimal visual outcomes.
LASIK eye surgery is a safe 10-minute procedure to help you get rid of glasses. EyeMantra offers the most advanced LASIK options including PRK, Femto Lasik, SMILE surgery, Standard LASIK, ICL, and Contoura vision. If you have any questions on Lasik surgery in Delhi, Lasik surgery cost, and Lasik procedure, call us at 9711116605 or email at [email protected].