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Surgery : Anterior Segment : PRK

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

It is a surgical procedure that uses excimer laser to correct refractive defects such as myopia, hyperopia ,astigmatism and presbyopia.

This technique was invented in the begining of the eighties and was aproved by the FDA in 1995. Excimer Laser is a beam of cold ultra violet light that produces an ablation or elimination of corneal tissue with the purpose of remodeling it so light is better focused on the retina and vision is improved.

To determine if a patient is a candidate for this procedure these pre-operatory examinations must be made: corneal topography ( detects corneal shape) , pachimetry ( corneal thickness is mensures ) and aberrometry ( detects aberrations or defects in the  cornea).

Once the patient is determined to be a candidate, pre operatory  topical antibiotic treatment is prescribed and the procedure scheduled. It is an out patient procedure , lasts less than one minute and the patient is awake and concious during it.

The patient lays down , anesthetic eye drops are applied and a surgical device is placed in the eye to avoid it from closing.  A cilinder is placed over the cornea and an alcohol solution is instilled in it during one minute and then aspiranted. The epithelium is removed with a surgical spatula , the  eye is aligned under the laser and the patient is asked to stare at a light  meanwhile the laser reshapes the cornea. The surgeon is always watching that the laser is being applied in the right place.

The laser does a constant sound during the procedure and a peculiar odor is smelled, all of these is normal.

The patient should rest and do no physical efforts as well as not be exposed to saunas or pools for a week period.  The patient should not rub his eyes until the doctor says is safe. The patient can return to normal activities in about 5 days.

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