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PRK Candidates - Do You Qualify for PRK Eye Surgery? By Daniel J Tepper on July 15, 2021

Graphic of an eye during PRK Eye SurgeryPRK eye surgery is an effective laser eye surgery option that improves vision. At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, our doctors treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism with state-of-the-art LASIK and PRK eye surgery. PRK eye surgery is ideal for patients with corneas that are too thin or irregularly shaped for LASIK eye surgery. Patients must meet the following requirement to be considered candidates for PRK eye surgery

Stable Prescription

It is unwise to perform corrective surgery on a moving target. A fluctuating prescription is an indicator that patients are not ready for corrective eye surgery. Hormone imbalances and medical conditions (such as diabetes) can cause inconsistencies in vision prescriptions. 

All vision correction surgeries require a stable prescription for at least 12 months. This means that your prescription should not have changed more than 0.5 diopters over a year.

Good Health

On top of a stable prescription, it is equally important to have healthy eyes. A history of cataracts and glaucoma can affect your chances of qualifying for PRK eye surgery.

PRK eye surgery requires a few months to heal completely. The following chronic conditions can affect the healing process: 

  • Diabetes
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Cardiopulmonary and oxygen transport defects
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Dementia

Smoking and chewing tobacco can slow down the healing process. Nicotine, an addictive chemical found in tobacco, causes blood vessels to spasm and shrink. When the blood vessel is too narrow, it cannot bring oxygen, nutrients, and other healing factors to the surgery site. Nicotine is also associated with excessive blood clots. Therefore, tobacco use must be stopped before surgery and during healing.

Sufficient Tear Production

Thousands of nerves are disrupted during PRK eye surgery. These nerves wire the surface of the cornea and tell the brain to produce more tears. Losing this pathway for several months due to regeneration can decrease healing and comfort. 

Dry eyes are generally worse after PRK eye surgery, which can affect healing and your vision. This condition will improve but may take a few months. Use moisturizing drops at night and as needed. If you have dry eyes, we will discuss potential treatment options during your consultation at our Chicago practice.

How Does PRK Work?

PRK eye surgery reshapes the cornea without creating a flap to improve eyesight. By doing this, the passage of light through the eye is altered and appropriately focused on the retina. The retina is the essential light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. It is responsible for converting light into images through signals to the brain.

Discuss PRK Eye Surgery Today

Are you still looking for an alternative to glasses and contacts? If you don’t qualify for LASIK, you may be interested in PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) eye surgery. 

If you have questions about PRK eye surgery candidacy, our team can answer your questions. Call us in Chicago at (773) 376-2020 or message us online to ask a question.

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Wicker Park Eye Center

At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, Dr. Daniel J. Tepper, a board-certified ophthalmologist and Parisha Shah, fellowship-trained optometrists, provide patient-centric eye care. Our affiliations include:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Optometric Association (AOA)

To schedule an appointment at our eye clinic, please contact us online or call (773) 376-2020.

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"I have visited Wicker Eye Park Center a few times, with each visit I have received excellent service. Dr. Tepper is the best ophthalmologist that I have seen in many years. He, like his staff, is also courteous respectful and very professional." Juan B.

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