What is photorefractive keratectomy PRK? What is the Cost?
The photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a refractive surgery technique that involves the use of an excimer laser which is an instrument that produces a laser light in the wavelength of 193 nanometers. With the laser, the eye surgeon treats the cornea in such a way as to correct the visual defects like astigmatism, hypermetropia, or myopia.
The PRK is mainly employed to treat myopia which is a refractive defect that can be treated through this technique with considerable effectiveness. In fact, this technique is capable of correcting myopia up to about -10 diopters, but beyond these values the technique begins to lose its precision.
The correction of astigmatism generally gets fewer results than those obtained in the case of myopia. However, with the latest generation laser, you get good results even on important astigmatisms.
In case of hypermetropia, good results are gained when there are minor defects, but if hypermetropia is high, the PRK technique is not recommended. Therefore, the PRK technique is suggested in the presence of visual defects of slight or medium magnitude and when there are refractive defects of high degrees that cannot be treated with other techniques such as LASIK that is contraindicated in case of particularly thin cornea.
The main advantages of photorefractive keratectomy are the following:
- It is a relatively simple operation.
- It is not painful.
- It is free of significant risks that may occur during and after the intervention.
Who is this procedure for?
- Patients with myopia
- Patients who prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses
- Dry eye
- Visual blurs
- Laser Presbyond (femtosecond)
Intervention or treatment's duration
- About 20 minutes for both eyes
- Clear vision after 6 months
How is it executed?
The operation takes place under topical anesthesia. The patient lies down on the operating table and anesthetic eye drops are used. The eye surgeons start the operation by removing the corneal epithelium. Then, the laser is positioned and the surgeon performs the treatment, which lasts on average from 30 seconds to just over a minute.
After the laser treatment, we proceed with the application of a therapeutic contact lens that will remain on site for a few days (usually a week).
Unlike in LASIK treatment, ocular pain is more likely to be felt, sometimes even quite intense. This pain is the result of the removal of the corneal epithelium and is treated with painkillers. The corneal wound healing takes place in a rather short time (usually three or four days are enough). However, the visual recovery is longer (about two weeks) and for complete stabilization you will have to wait even a few months.
What are the possible results of PRK?
In the vast majority of cases, the desired results are obtained through the photorefractive keratectomy and no further vision corrections are needed.
A very low percentage of patients (about 5%) do not get the desired results or there is a regression of the vision corrections that were obtained with the PRK. Therefore, it is still necessary to employ eyeglasses or contact lenses even if they are less effective.
The reasons why not all patients get the desired outcome are essentially linked to the fact that not all people respond in the same way to laser treatment.
However, it must be said that after 90 days you can repeat a new treatment.
What are the possible complications?
The photorefractive keratectomy is considered to be a very safe procedure, but even in the case of simple operations, there is no absolute certainty that no complications will occur.
In the case of PRK, the complications are very rare. There is the risk of infections. Other problems can result from a delay in epithelization. Besides, the corneal epithelium regrows in a few days, but in some cases it may take more time. It is not a dangerous problem, but it is certainly annoying because the patient must extend the period of suspension from normal work and recreational activities. Corneal opacities may occur in some cases especially when significant myopia has been treated.
How much does it cost in Turkey and Istanbul?
The ability to improve one’s vision and get rid of eyeglasses and contact lenses makes PRK desirable for many. The cost of the operation varies depending on how serious the visual defect is to be treated and the technology used by the surgeon.
Factors that influence the price are:
- The degrees of visual angle to be corrected: PRK surgery is generally more expensive for those who have severe visual problems.
- The type of laser technology used: the latest technologies are usually more expensive than the older ones. Before deciding, you should ask about the costs of the different procedures available in Turkey and Istanbul to understand exactly what to expect.
- The experience of the surgeon and his/her professional reputation: the cost of the operation can finally be influenced by the skills of the ophthalmologist. More experienced surgeons working at renowned clinics and hospitals tend to be more expensive.