When patients expecting to be candidates for LASIK surgery are recommended PRK for vision correction instead, they may be caught by surprise. As I outlined in my last blog post, there are many reasons why PRK might be the better choice for certain individuals. While some patients have concerns about PRK, many of these concerns are no longer anything to worry about thanks to advancements in laser technology.
The belief that PRK causes severe pain and that the eye takes forever to heal after surgery is simply not true. Using the most recent technology available to us, the cornea takes about four days to heal, and most patients rate their discomfort during this period a two out of ten – which translates into only minor irritation.
During your recovery from PRK, you should still be able to do things around the house, watch television, or take care of a child. Since driving is restricted while the eye heals, most people choose to schedule their surgery over a long weekend so they can rest before returning to work.
We have also pioneered a new application of a drug for the discomfort associated with PRK, revolutionizing post-operative recovery. In addition to topical anesthetics, we have found that Gabapentin (also called Lyrica) is very effective at preventing corneal discomfort. We start our patients on this oral medication an hour or so before the surgery and recommend taking the medication three times a day. More and more ophthalmology practices are using this method of pain management, so pain is no longer a big problem with PRK.
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To learn more about PRK surgery or your other vision correction options, please contact us today.