PRK Eye Surgery
in Huntington Beach
19671 Beach Blvd. Suite 400 Huntington Beach, California 92648
Also serving, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, & Orange County
Clarity Eye Group’s highly talented eye surgeons offer several other forms of laser eye surgery in Orange County, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. They have multiple years’ experience performing LTK surgery in Orange County, as well as PRK procedure. Please peruse the paragraphs below to learn more about laser eye surgery and the results Orange County patients can achieve through it.
PRK in Orange County
Photo refractive keratectomy (PRK) is a refractive surgical procedure in which a cool beam of ultraviolet light emitted from a computer-guided laser is used to vaporize microscopic layers of the cornea, leaving the clear outer covering of the eye’s lens smooth and allowing for clearer vision. The laser does not come into contact with the eye, and the use of a cool beam of light precise enough to cut notches into a strand of hair means only tiny areas of tissue are affected.
Are you a good PRK candidate?
At Clarity Eye Group in Southern California we are dedicated to making it our priority that you are matched with the right type of laser eye surgery. With various eye procedures to choose from at our eye clinic we are here to help inform you of who is a good candidate for PRK. At Clarity Eye Group we look for good PRK candidates who have the following traits:
- Individuals with corneas that are too thin for LASIK
- Individuals who have nearsightedness (also known as myopia) tend to be well fitted for PRK
- Patients who are in generally good health
PRK is a relatively new procedure, first offered in the United States in 1996, but it is increasing in popularity among people looking for an alternative to LASIK surgery. While it usually takes longer to fully recover from PRK surgery, the procedure is still popular because patients who are not candidates for LASIK due to certain corneal conditions or corneal scarring may be good candidates for PRK surgery. Both procedures result in essentially the same degree of vision correction.
PRK Procedure Details
Prior to the surgery, numbing eye drops are placed into your eyes to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. A special device holds your eyelids open to prevent blinking while your ophthalmologist performs PRK.
Once this preparation is complete, the ophthalmologist gently removes the epithelium, or outermost cells of the cornea, with a laser. Next, he uses a separate, computer-guided laser to reshape the cornea so that it can refract light in a normal manner. The computer follows a digitized map of your unique eye shape to produce the maximum benefits.
This entire procedure is typically completed in less than 15 minutes. A “bandage” contact lens that promotes better healing will be placed over your eye.
Recovering from PRK
Though the recovery from PRK is slower than that of LASIK, when you look back on it, it will not seem that long. Many patients are able to resume work and most of their regular activities within several days.
PRK is performed on an outpatient basis. After your procedure, we will monitor you for a short period of time to ensure your vitals are stable. Then, we will release you into the care of a companion, who should drive you home. Once home, plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Your eyes need time to recuperate, so clear your schedule and arrange for someone else to handle childcare, pet care and other household responsibilities.
You will wear special bandage contact lenses to protect your eyes as the epithelial cells grow back. Follow all of our instructions for wearing the lenses and do not remove them until our doctors advise it is safe to do so. We will also ask you to wear an eye shield during sleep to avoid accidentally scratching your eyes.
Precautions to Take After PRK Surgery
For the first day or two, refrain from overusing your eyes with excessive screen time or reading. You can watch television and read in moderation, but do not overdo it. Podcasts and audiobooks are good entertainment alternatives that do not require looking at a screen.
You can shower the day after surgery, as long as you avoid getting water in your eyes. You can resume driving when you feel comfortable enough in the clarity of your vision to get behind the wheel.
Some patients are slightly uncomfortable after PRK because their healing eyes are highly sensitive to light. We usually recommend wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat outside if the light is very bright. Pain and significant discomfort after PRK are very rare.
Dry, itchy eyes may occur; our team will prescribe eye drops to lubricate and soothe your eyes after PRK. We will also prescribe antibiotic eye drops to reduce the risk of infection. Please use the drops as directed.
One of the benefits of PRK is that, unlike LASIK, there is no risk of dislodging a healing corneal flap (because the surgeon does not create a flap in the first place). Still, you should be cautious not to rub or press on your eyes. If there is a piece of dust or an eyelash in your eye, it is safer to try to flush it out with artificial tears than to rub your eyes vigorously.
Refrain from applying face creams, serums or cosmetic products to the eyes or to the area right around the eyes during your initial healing. These products could contain ingredients that are harmful to your eyes.
Be diligent about attending your follow-up visits. During these appointments, our team will monitor your eyes and make sure they are healing well. Even if your vision seems fine and you are not experiencing any side effects from surgery, keep your appointments as scheduled. Please feel free to ask any questions that arise during your recovery.
Clarity Eye Group offers PRK at a fair, competitive price considering the level of expertise of our ophthalmologists. Specific costs can be discussed during a consultation so that you may make an informed decision.
Because PRK is an elective procedure, most insurance plans do not cover PRK. Many major eye insurance policies offer a discount on refractive surgery, so you should check your policy for such benefits. Clarity Eye Group offers financing options through CareCredit for patients who would like to make payments toward the full cost of PRK.
PRK Eye Procedure FAQs
Q: When will I be able to return to sporting activities and physical activity?
A: Generally, when your vision allows you. We do suggest and urge that you avoid harsh or intense direct light and dusty environments after your PRK surgery at Clarity Eye Group.
Q: Will I be able to drive after my PRK surgery?
A: We require that another individual you trust drive you home after your procedure at Clarity Eye Group. We have found that typically it is safe to resume driving the next day.
Q: Will I still need reading glasses after my PRK surgery at Clarity Eye Group?
A: Commonly, individuals who receive PRK surgery at Clarity Eye Group and are under 40 years of age still read fine without the help of eye glasses. Our patients over 40 that receive PRK eye surgery may still need reading glasses for fine print.
Q: Do I need to avoid activities postoperatively?
A: No, you will be able to bend over and pick up objects just as you would before your surgery. Showering is permitted as long as you do not get water in the eye being operated on. At Clarity Eye group we do suggest that for a few weeks you wear protective eye wear when sleeping, to avoid rubbing your operative eye.
Q: What if I cannot decide between LASIK and PRK?
A: During your consultation for refractive surgery, our ophthalmologist can explain the nuanced differences between LASIK and PRK. In some cases, the ophthalmologist may determine that only one option is appropriate for your eyes. However, most patients qualify for both. Accordingly, our team is happy to help you weigh the pros and cons of each procedure so that you have the best possible experience and outcome.
Q: What if I am ineligible for both LASIK and PRK?
A: Fortunately, you may still have other options for improving your vision while lowering your dependency on prescription lenses. Refractive lens exchange removes the eye’s natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens, or IOL, that can help your eye overcome common refractive errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Q: Can I be too old for PRK?
A: There is only one age requirement for PRK: You must be at least 18 to have the surgery (though our doctors generally encourage patients to wait a few additional years to allow more time for vision to stabilize). Although most patients have PRK before the age of 40, plenty of patients have refractive surgery in their 40s, 50s and beyond. As long as you remain a good candidate for PRK, you may improve your eyesight with this surgery.
Q: Are there any risks associated with PRK?
A: PRK is a very safe procedure with a low complication rate — even lower than LASIK. However, there are inherent risks with any surgery. A small portion of patients may experience side effects like infection, light sensitivity, double vision or blurry vision.
Q: Why do some athletes prefer PRK over LASIK?
A: Patients who participate in contact sports often choose to avoid LASIK since that surgery creates a corneal flap. Because an eye injury can dislodge this flap and lead to complications, those who are most at risk for eye trauma tend to play it safe by choosing PRK to improve their vision.
Q: What are the benefits of PRK?
A: PRK comes with an array of benefits for patients. For specifics to your particular treatment, please ask your ophthalmologist for your recovery.
- Can correct nearsightedness, effectively reducing reliance on eyeglasses and contact lenses.
- Patients with thin corneas or irregularities in the surface of their corneas can benefit from vision correction with PRK.
- Painless and effective procedure.
- No corneal flap is required with PRK.
Q: Will I be able to wear makeup following PRK?
A: Immediately following your PRK procedure, you will need to prioritize resting your eyes and keeping all irritants away from them, including eye makeup such as mascara, eye shadow, and eyeliner. Makeup particles can easily get into the eye and lead to itching, irritation, and eye rubbing, which should be avoided during PRK recovery. Our eye doctors will provide you with full operative instructions to help you successfully navigate your recovery and reduce the chance of infection or other complications.
Q: Is PRK painful?
A: No, PRK is not painful. During your PRK procedure, your eyes are fully numb so that you do not experience discomfort during surgery. You should feel excited about the procedure and what it can accomplish, as opposed to being distressed about any potential pain. The skilled eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group understand that some patients may be hesitant to seek out vision correction procedures due to a fear of pain, even if these procedures can significantly improve their quality of life. Because of this, our experts take every measure to ensure patients are relaxed, informed, and comfortable at all points of the process.
Q: Is it OK to swim after PRK?
A: Activities that could lead to irritation should be completely avoided as your eyes heal following PRK; this includes swimming. Swimming can expose healing eyes to harsh chemicals and harmful bacteria that can cause infection. Remain on the safe side by avoiding participation in activities that can slow down your recovery.
Q: What makes PRK different from LASIK?
A: Both LASIK and PRK are intended to correct vision, but their approaches differ.
During a LASIK procedure, a thin flap in the cornea is created, allowing the doctor to have access to the inner tissues for laser reshaping. After reshaping, the flap seals itself shut and heals quickly. It is required that patients have healthy corneas.
On the other hand, a flap is not necessary for PRK. During the procedure, the laser is used on the surface of the cornea, not under a flap.
Both surgeries are excellent vision correction options, and it is best to speak to our doctors about which procedure is right for you.
Q: Will PRK work if I have astigmatism?
A: PRK can successfully treat astigmatism, allowing those with the condition to achieve clear vision.
Q: Is PRK performed on both eyes at the same time?
A: Generally, both eyes are treated at the same time during PRK. The short and safe procedure can be completed in less than 15 minutes. This ensures that you only have to go through PRK recovery once, which means you can get back to your regular activities sooner.
Q: How soon will I see results following PRK?
A: PRK patients can expect an 80% improvement in their vision about one month following surgery. At the end of three months, patients will see their final results.
Q: Is PRK Considered an Elective Procedure?
A: PRK is considered an elective surgery, meaning you will not be able to use insurance. Some initial examinations may be partially eligible for coverage by certain insurance policies, but the actual procedure will likely not be covered.
Schedule your Consultation for PRK Eye Surgery in Orange County
At Clarity Eye Group, we want our Orange County eye surgery patients to be well-informed of the options that we offer. Please contact our Huntington Beach eye care office today to schedule a PRK consultation with our vision experts.