The procedure is performed with the same, cool blue excimer laser, but instead of cutting a flap on the cornea, the outermost layer of skin cells is delicately removed. The laser then methodically reshapes the corneal bed to allow light to focus more precisely on the retina and greatly improve the quality of vision. Bandage contact lenses are used for about five or six days following treatment to ensure comfort and protection. As usual, patients will be seated and asked to relax for 15 minutes or so after exiting the laser room. Dr. Belmont will then examine the eyes, making sure that there is good movement and placement for the contact lenses. She will instruct the patient to go home and take it easy for the rest of the day and to make sure to use the medicated drops and lubricating drops exactly as instructed on the post-operative instruction sheet until the first post-operative visit, at which time new instructions will be given, and that’s it! The total time in the laser room is about 15 minutes for treatment of both eyes, and the whole process takes less than two hours, from arrival to departure.
Patients who are nearsighted, farsighted, astigmatic or presbyopic may benefit from advanced PRK, as can many patients who would not have previously qualified for a LASIK procedure due to slightly thin corneas.