“My life is easier and so much fun without the hassle of wearing contact lenses and glasses , thanks to Dr Hyver!”
Bay Area media personality and
PRK patient, Christie James
The goal of customized PRK is to help patients see equal to or better than their contact lenses and glasses and, through the use of Wavefront-Optimized techniques, to help preserve or even improve their vision quality, especially their night vision. For many patients with irregular corneas, customized PRK is a potentially safer alternative to LASIK and SMILE eye surgery. Unlike LASIK and SMILE treatment, PRK doesn’t require an incision in the cornea, an important difference for someone with unusually thin corneas, where an incision could potentially affect the structural integrity of the eye. And for patients who engage in mixed martial arts and other contact sports, PRK may be a better solution than LASIK in resisting a blow to the eye.
The PRK procedure takes about 15 minutes to complete. In the first step of the procedure, Dr. Hyver employs an alcohol solution to remove the thin, outer membrane of the cornea, called the epithelium, exposing the surface of the central part of the cornea, called the stroma. Dr. Hyver then employs the Alcon EX500 excimer laser to reshape the stromal surface according to your specific vision error and your corneal curvature, after which he places a temporary contact lens over the treated area to protect the cornea while the epithelium layer regrows. Patients typically feel little to no discomfort during the procedure.
The PRK procedure is also customized to your unique corneal curvature. Using proprietary Wavefront-Optimized software algorithms, the Alcon EX500 excimer laser adjusts its energy delivery on the periphery of the treatment zone in order to help achieve a natural prolate corneal shape, which can help minimize spherical aberration and therefore contribute to better night vision quality.
Between 1 and 3 days after your PRK procedure, you can expect some discomfort, potentially including burning and irritated eyes, light sensitivity, tearing, and swollen eyelids. Most of this discomfort directly relates to the removal of the epithelium, which acts as a natural barrier between your eye and your environment. For your comfort, we’ll provide you with a prescription for pain relief medication and other pain prevention support.
Between 4 days and 1 week after PRK, your vision may be blurred and hazy, but the discomfort of the first few days should be over. You should also be seeing equal to or better than 20/40, the minimum acuity for driving vision in California, and you should be back to work and to your normal lifestyle. During this period, we’ll remove the protective contact lenses that Dr. Hyver placed on your eye(s) during your surgery.
Between 1 week and 3 months after PRK, the new growth of epithelium over your treatment area will smooth and even out, producing clearer and clearer vision. During this time, most patients experience some degree of halos and starbursts around night lighting, the effects of which may make driving at night difficult for the first few weeks following your PRK treatment. But these effects should gradually diminish and, in the majority of cases, fully resolve.
Ricannia, a media Sales Manager in the San Francisco Bay Area, hated her glasses and contact lenses, especially because of her active lifestyle, which includes extensive business and personal travel. She didn’t qualify for LASIK eye surgery, so she had PRK with Dr. Hyver instead. Now watch as she documents her PRK post-op recovery, from her reaction just an hour after her PRK surgery to her excitement weeks later with her new 20/15 vision.
With today’s state-of-the-art laser infrastructure, combined with Dr. Hyver’s experience and deep surgical database, it’s rare that our PRK patients don’t see 20/20 or better. Like any medical procedure, however, PRK is not without risks or alternatives. Learn more about PRK in our FAQ and about PRK safety here.