Before the treatment, your physician will conduct a detailed examination to determine if your eyes are healthy and suitable for laser surgery. If you wear contact lenses, you should stop wearing them at least two to six weeks before the actual treatment, depending on the type of contact lens that you are wearing.
Your physician will conduct an extensive examination of your eye before the laser treatment in order to precisely determine its health, corneal thickness, and the degree of your visual defect. Once the examination is completed on the day of treatment, you will lie down on the laser bed. The physician will then apply eye drops to numb your eye.
In the first step of the procedure, the physician creates a thin flap in the upper layer of your cornea. During this time your sight will be briefly interrupted due to increased ocular pressure in your eye. Then the flap is carefully folded back to expose the lower corneal layer. At this point you will be able to see, but everything will be blurry.
For the next step, the physician will ask you to concentrate your sight on a green light. Then the actual laser treatment begins. Due to the high speed of the laser system, the average treatment will only take a few seconds.
Once the laser treatment is finished, the flap is returned to its original position where it completely adheres and works like a natural band-aid. Your eye will then receive antibiotic eye drops to prevent infections. The treatment is now fully completed.
Step 1 – A flap is created with extreme precision in the outer layer of the eye membrane.
Step 2 – The flap is partially removed and carefully folded back.
Step 3 – Laserlight gently and precisely reshapes the cornea.
Step 4 – The flap is then put back into its original position, where it completely adheres.
You will already be able to see your surroundings with improved visual acuity, but your eye may itch or burn and you may experience sensitivity to light. You should try to rest and avoid strenuous visual activities like reading or watching TV during the next few hours while your eye continues to heal.
In photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), a laser is used to remove part of the central cornea after having earlier displaced the outer epithelial layer of cells on the surface. This method is usually applied in cases of minor refractive error and astigmatism or even on patients whose corneas are too thin to withstand LASIK. A post-operative course of therapeutical lenses and eye-drops is essential and lasts several months.
The PRK itself only lasts a few minutes and is conducted under local anesthesia. PRK is usually performed one eye at a time and the patient is ready for work and other activities after a week. The temporary therapeutical contact lenses used in the recovery process may cause itching, tearing and pain in the operated eye, and blurred vision occurs to varying degrees of severity. After the lenses are removed for good visual clarity improves incrementially and stabilizes after a few months.