At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 123

G E N E R A L H E A LT H ▲

epithelium - or outer layer of cells on
the eye - using an alcohol solution,
'buffing' device or blunt surgical
instrument to access the cornea. The
cornea is reshaped with a laser and
the patient will then have to wear a
protective lens during the recovery
period. The procedure is a good
option for patients with a cornea that
is too thin or too biomechanically
weak to support a flap. Patients with
certain genetic corneal diseases or
dystrophies of the epithelial layer of
the cornea also are better treated
without a flap.
RECOVERY TIME? Unlike the
nearly immediate recovery of LASIK
and LASEK, PRK patients often
experience light sensitivity, burning,
and tearing for about 24 - 48 hours
during the first three to four days (and
particularly during the second and
third day) after surgery as skin tissue
grows back. Typically, the eye feels
irritated rather than painful.
Ideally, patients take a week off
work to recover. Pain-relieving eye
drops and oral painkillers will be
needed for a few days after surgery
and you will probably need to
wear a special bandage contact lens,
use antibiotic drops for a few days
and apply anti-inflammatory drops
for several weeks.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

VISUAL
IMPROVEMENT IS
OFTEN IMMEDIATE
AND MOST PATIENTS
CAN RETURN TO
NORMAL LIFESTYLE
THE NEXT DAY

Although most patients are happy
with the results, there is a small risk of
serious complications (between 0.1%
and 1%) or milder problems (about
5%). Occasionally, people experience a
problem with dry eyes for a few
months following surgery, and
artificial tear supplements may be
needed. Some patients also experience
glare or halo effects when driving
at night, particularly just after
treatment. The higher the degree
of correction, the greater the chance
this will be a problem.
It is rare, but in some cases,
excessive thinning of the eye
wall can cause the shape of the eye
to be unstable after treatment. Severe
loss of vision is very unusual, but
some patients could require corneal
surgery or hard contact lenses to
restore vision.

FEBRUARY 2018 | 123



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home with Chris Jessen 2018

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