Who Is Not a Candidate for PRK?
If you have herpes simplex of the eye, you cannot undergo the procedure during an active breakout. Some doctors will do PRK if you go 6 months without a recurrence of herpes. In this case, you will need prophylactic medications before and after the procedure to minimize the risk of a recurrence while the eye heals.
In general, pregnant women should avoid vision correction procedures, including PRK, because pregnancy sometimes causes instability in one’s prescription during the third trimester. On the other hand, if you are early in your pregnancy and your vision hasn’t changed, it may be possible to do PRK in special cases.
You may be surprised to learn that if you suffer from major medical conditions- an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes for example- you are not automatically disqualified for PRK surgery. Talk with your surgeon about specific steps you can take to make PRK as safe as possible for you.
As with LASIK surgery, you’ll want to find an ophthalmologist who is board certified. Surgeons who have completed at least 200 PRK procedure should be competent with the procedure.
Preparing for PRK
As with LASIK, you will be asked no to wear contact lenses for up to 1 week prior to the date of your measurements in order to give you eyes time to return to their natural shape and provide a more accurate correction. If you wear rigid gas permeable or toric contact lenses, your surgeon may request that you not wear them for up to 3 weeks prior to your measurements for the same reason.
Whether to operate the same day on both eyes or to have each eye treated on different dates is a decision to be made by the patient after discussing the pros and cons with Dr. Kornmehl. Because the return of functional vision is prolonged after PRK, some prefer to wait at least one week before operating on the second eye. The major drawback is the inconvenience of going through the recovery process (24-48 hours of pain or discomfort and the postoperative office visits) twice.
You will need to make sure that you have a ride home from your surgeon’s office, because you will have been given a mild sedative prior to your procedure.