Our ophthalmologists empathize with patients when they find out they aren't eligible for LASIK. That's why we provide multiple types of laser refractive error correction, like PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), at our office in Encino. PRK was the original version of laser vision correction and has offered life-changing sight to millions of men and women across the globe. For around 5 years, the procedure was safely and effectively performed until the advancements of LASIK methods. Fortunately, ophthalmologists still perform PRK surgery all the time, primarily for patients who don't have thick enough corneal tissue to receive LASIK. We perform PRK to resolve or improve refractive errors, such as myopia and hyperopia; however, PRK is performed somewhat differently and requires a longer healing process. Best of all, PRK provides results that compare to or even outdo those of other laser vision correction procedures. Reach out to our team at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley for a comprehensive assessment if you think you might be a good candidate for PRK. Both of our locations in Encino or West Hills can provide additional information about this surgery.
For the most part, PRK is reserved for people who want to receive laser refractive surgery but don't have thick enough corneal tissue for LASIK. Some patients also have slightly irregular corneas that make them poor candidates for LASIK. Also, PRK could be more practical for individuals with specific ocular diseases. PRK is a better choice for people who might incur damage to the eye because of unsafe job environments or a highly active lifestyle. A common source of confustion about PRK is that sometimes patients incorrectly believe it's an older or different procedure compared to LASIK. PRK utilizes the exact same VISX Star laser to treat the eye as does LASIK. The only difference between the procedures is that LASIK involves creating a flap whereas no flap is created during PRK. Patients must be at least 18 years old to ensure the maturity of their eyes. Additionally, their vision must not change for at least a year. To determine if PRK is a good treatment for you, we need to complete a thorough eye evaluation and discuss any past or current medical conditions.
"I've been seeing Dr. Elkins as a patient for many years. This office is incredible on every level! They are all about the service which only compliments the brilliant doctors. It really stinks to get older and have changes in vision. Over the years Dr. Elkins and his staff has always ensured I've maintained the best possible vision. From the glasses I started with over 20 years go to Lasik and then eventually PRK and contacts my vision has always been kept in check. His optometrists are patient and caring and really take the time to ensure the best possible prescription. Additionally ,the eyeglass shop has a great selection and fantastic staff. Anyway, I can't say enough nice things about Dr. Elkins and Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley."- J.G. / Yelp / Oct 22, 2018
"Dr. Elkins is the best doctor I have ever met! He is knowledgeable, honest, caring, and truly listens to every concern you may have. His staff is beyond friendly and both his offices are impeccable - I never have to wait more than 5 minutes in the lobby at my appointments. He had been recommended to me by my boss and coworker who both had LASIK with Dr. Elkins. After consultation, Dr. Elkins recommended PRK due to my thin corneas and he briefed me on the differences and was sure to warn me about possible side effects. On surgery day his staff made sure I was comfortable and relaxed. The whole procedure took less than 20 minutes and my side effects from PRK were minimal! Dr. Elkins even made a personal call to check up on me since I had a slight concern post op. I was on bed rest for a week but the moment I was able to take a good look I saw the world in HD...it was like a miracle. I am now almost 3 months post op and my vision couldn't be better and I couldn't be happier. Do yourself a favor and go get a consultation from Dr. Elkins!! He is such a genuine person and will answer any questions you have! Hats off to his staff including Ana, Judy and Mark for being lovely and caring people as well! Thank you for giving me my sight!"- J.W. / Yelp / Jun 08, 2016
"I’ve been seeing Dr. Elkins as a patient for many years. This office is incredible on every level! They are all about the service which only compliments the brilliant doctors. It really stinks to get older and have changes in vision. Over the years Dr. Elkins and his staff has always ensured I’ve maintained the best possible vision. From the glasses I started with over 20 years go to Lasik and then eventually PRK and contacts my vision has always been kept in check. His optometrists are patient and caring and really take the time to ensure the best possible prescription. Additionally ,the eyeglass shop has a great selection and fantastic staff. Anyway, I can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Elkins and Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley."- D.M. / Yelp / Oct 22, 2018
"I'm so thankful for Dr Elkins. I've been wearing glasses/contacts for 20+ years and now after my PRK surgery, I can see 20/20 without them. He's very kind, easy to speak to and very attentive. Would highly recommend him."- S.W. / Google / Mar 01, 2021
"Dr. Brad Elkins is the man! My vision was minus 7...I couldn’t function whatsoever without my glasses or contact lenses. He did PRK on both eyes and 3 years later, I still wake up each day grateful for my vision! Such a talented and kind man, highly recommended. Thanks, doc!"- S.N. / Yelp / Aug 27, 2021
What To Expect
Usually, PRK procedures are completed in about 10 minutes. Before getting started, we will completely numb the eye with no-sting eye drops to ensure a painless experience. Next, a device is placed into the eye to stop it from blinking. The PRK technique is just like LASIK and LASEK for the first steps. The primary difference in the PRK technique is that no corneal flap is required. Rather, the thinnest, outermost layer (the epithelium) of the eye is fully taken off and disposed of, which lets us recontour the cornea beneath. Afterward, patients need to wear a specialized bandage contact lens to shelter the eye while the epithelial tissue grows back. The epithelium usually regrows in 1 – 2 weeks, meaning the overall recovery period lasts a bit longer compared to other laser refractive surgery techniques.
Following any laser vision correction surgery, like LASIK or PRK, we require our patients to come back to Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley for one or more follow-ups. The first appointment is often as soon as the following day. These appointments are crucial so that we can keep an eye on a patient's healing process, look for any unanticipated reactions, and help take care of any possible discomfort. Relative to other laser refractive techniques, PRK does have a lengthier recovery process and a bit more discomfort, including photophobia (light sensitivity), grittiness sensations in the eye, and extreme dry eye. The majority of patients need to use their protective healing contacts for about three weeks. Nonetheless, when the eyes have completely recovered, the acuity results will be as good as or better compared to other laser vision correction. Typically, patients can return to their jobs and driving within 7 – 10 days and experience their full vision improvement within 1 – 3 months.
How do I know if there's a problem with my cornea?
Corneal problems can be a result of injury or abnormal development. Symptoms that may require medical attention include blurry vision, eye pain, light sensitivity, and halos around lights. The specialists at OAV recommend regular check-ups to monitor for corneal issues — so we can provide treatment options as early as possible.
How can I prepare for PKP?
There is no special preparation required for PKP surgery. However, it is important to inform our team about any health conditions that could interfere with your recovery. Additionally, remember to take any medications as prescribed by our team. We can inform you of what to expect in terms of your surgery and postoperative care.
Why choose us for PKP?
OAV has the experience and expertise to provide you with the best possible care. We understand that every patient is unique, and we work with you to get to know you better and understand your concerns before recommending a treatment plan tailored specifically for you. Our staff can help you achieve the best outcomes in Los Angeles, CA.
Is PRK better than LASIK vision correction?
Not necessarily. Some patients are simply better candidates for some procedures than others. Our eye care team will perform an assessment and determine which procedure is best suited for your eyes. We take into account factors like your current prescription, corneal thickness, and whether you have any eye conditions before making the right decision moving forward.
How long do the results of PRK last?
The results of PRK are long-lasting. As we mentioned, this procedure is typically only performed to correct mild refractive errors like nearsightedness or farsightedness. It may not prevent future vision changes or eye conditions. Our staff can provide more details about what to expect after surgery. The goal of PRK is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses after surgery for as long as possible.
Can PRK correct astigmatism?
In some cases, PRK can correct astigmatism. An eye care practitioner can determine if you are a suitable candidate for PRK and diagnose any other issues with your vision during an evaluation in Los Angeles, CA. If it is determined that PRK can help improve your astigmatism, we will discuss your next steps in terms of surgery.
Dependable Vision Correction
Because it was the initial approach to laser refractive surgery, PRK has been helping patients to gain their sharpest vision for almost 25 years. For people who have been informed they weren't ideal candidates for LASIK, PRK might be the best solution. Despite the longer recovery period with PRK, the end result between LASIK and PRK are identical. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley, our experienced team has proudly delivered 20/20 vision to thousands of San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA patients. Visit us to schedule a consultation so our ophthalmologists can determine if PRK is the most effective solution for you.