Treating Short-Sightedness (Myopia) with PRK Laser Eye Surgery

Do you struggle or squint significantly to see distant objects clearly? If so, you may have a common vision problem known as short-sightedness, myopia, or nearsightedness. Myopia affects millions of people worldwide, and it can interfere with your everyday activities and quality of life. But don’t worry, there is a solution: PRK laser eye surgery. PRK is a safe and effective procedure that can correct myopia and give you clear vision without glasses or contacts. In this article, we will explain what myopia is, how PRK works, and what are the benefits of PRK laser eye surgery for myopia (short-sightedness).

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a refractive error that occurs when the eye is too long, or the cornea is too curved, causing light rays to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of your eye that converts light into nerve signals which are sent to the brain. When the retina receives blurry images, the brain also perceives them as blurry. This results in poor vision when looking at distant objects, while near objects appear clear.

How laser eye surgery can treat different vision disorders, myopia short-sightedness

Concept of eyes defect. Normal vision, hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism.

Some common symptoms of myopia are:

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Squinting
  • Excessive blinking
  • Difficulty seeing things on a board or screen

What causes Short-Sightedness?

Some common possible causes and risk factors of myopia are:

  • Genetics: Myopia often runs in families, so if your parents or siblings experience short-sightedness, you are more likely to have it too.
  • Environmental factors: Spending too much time indoors or doing near work (such as reading, writing, or using computers) can apply stress to your eyes and affect myopia growth and development. 
  • Eye diseases: Some eye conditions, such as cataracts or glaucoma, can also cause or worsen myopia.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), myopia is one of the leading causes of visual impairment around the world. It is estimated that by 2050, half of the world’s population will have myopia. Myopia can have a negative impact on your education, work, social life, and mental health. It can also increase your risk of developing serious eye conditions later in life, such as retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, or blindness. 

Treating Short-sightedness with PRK Laser Eye Surgery

PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. It’s a type of refractive laser eye surgery that can correct your myopia by reshaping your cornea. The cornea is the clear front surface of your eye that bends light rays as they enter your eye. By changing the shape of your cornea, PRK can improve how your eye focuses light on your retina and give you clear vision without glasses or contacts.

During PRK surgery, Dr. Bill Ward will remove the top layer of your cornea (called the epithelium) and use a special laser (called an excimer laser) to sculpt the underlying layers of your cornea according to your prescription. The excimer laser uses beams to vaporise tiny amounts of tissue from your cornea without damaging the surrounding areas. The result creates a smoother, flatter corneal surface that can better focus light on your retina.

How long does PRK surgery take?

PRK surgery usually takes less than 30 seconds per eye. We will provide you with numbing eye drops and possibly a sedative to help you relax. You will be asked to look at a target light while Dr. Ward removes the epithelium and reshapes your cornea with the laser. After the surgery, we will place a bandage contact lens on your eye to protect it and promote healing. 

Your vision will be blurry and fluctuate for the first few days after PRK surgery. This is normal and expected, as your epithelium needs to grow back, and your cornea needs to heal. You will notice a gradual improvement in your vision as your eyes heal. Most patients achieve 20/20 vision or better within 30 days after PRK surgery.

What are the possible side effects of PRK surgery for Myopia?

PRK surgery is a safe and effective procedure with a low risk of serious complications. However, like any surgery, it may have some side effects or complications that you should be aware of before deciding to undergo this surgery. Some of these side effects or complications are:

  • Pain and discomfort: You may experience some pain and discomfort in your eyes for a few days after PRK surgery. This is normal and expected, as your epithelium is exposed to the air and the laser. You will be given painkillers and sunglasses to help you cope with discomfort or light sensitivity. You can also use cold compresses or ice packs to soothe your eyes.
  • Infection and inflammation: You may have some risk of infection and inflammation in your eyes after PRK surgery. This is rare and preventable, as you will be prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation. You will also need to follow your eye surgeon’s instructions carefully and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, wearing makeup, swimming, or doing any strenuous activities for a few weeks after surgery.

How do I prepare for PRK surgery?

To prepare for PRK surgery, you must have a comprehensive eye exam and consultation with us to measure your refractive error, pupil size, corneal shape, and thickness. We will also review your medical history and discuss your expectations and goals with you. To take care of your eyes after PRK surgery, you will need to follow our instructions carefully and use the prescribed eye drops as directed. You must also avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, wearing makeup, swimming, or strenuous activities for a few weeks after surgery. You will need to wear the bandage contact lens until we remove it at your first follow-up visit (usually three to five days after surgery). You must also wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and dust. You will have regular follow-up visits with us to monitor your recovery and vision improvement. See PRK laser aftercare for more information.

Am I a suitable candidate for PRK surgery?

The best way to find out if you are a suitable candidate for PRK surgery is to book a complimentary consultation with us. We will evaluate your eyes and recommend the best option for you.

Why Choose Optilase for PRK Laser Eye Surgery?

At Optilase, we’re a leading laser eye clinic in Perth and Mandurah, providing reliable and effective PRK laser eye surgery for myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. We also offer cataract surgery and squint surgery for children and adults. With over 30 years of experience in eye care performing over 10,000 eye surgeries, we use state-of-the-art surgical lasers and equipment to ensure safety and accuracy. We offer PRK laser eye surgery in Perth at a fixed price of $1750 per eye, which is the most affordable in Western Australia. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about PRK laser eye surgery for short-sightedness, you can visit our FAQs or book an appointment with our friendly Optilase team.

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