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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.


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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

What To Know If Your Doctor Recommends PRK For Vision Correction

by Francisco Arnold

Vision correction surgeries have come a long way in recent years. These days, most of these procedures are laser-based, and they yield excellent results with a low risk of side effects. However, there are still several different vision correction surgeries, and it will be up to your eye doctor to recommend the one that best suits your eyes. If your eye doctor recommends a procedure called PRK, here are the basics you need to know.

What does PRK stand for?

PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. The word "photorefractive" refers to the way light waves bounce off your eyes. The word "keratectomy" means to change or remove keratin tissue, which in this case is the keratin tissue of your cornea. In other words, PRK is a procedure in which some of your corneal tissue is removed in order to change the way light bounces off your eyes. Making these changes improves your vision.

How is PRK performed?

These days, PRK is almost always performed entirely with lasers. A laser will be used to abrade away the surface of your cornea, changing its shape. Exactly how much of your cornea is removed will depend on the shape and slope of your eyes. 

Will you feel any pain during the procedure?

No. As with all laser vision correction surgeries, you will be given numbing eye drops before your surgeon starts doing anything to your eyes. You won't feel a thing when the laser works other than perhaps a little pressure. You will see bright lights as the laser moves around, but most patients actually find this to be cool or interesting, rather than disturbing or unpleasant.

What is the healing process like?

Because the surface of your cornea is abraded away, PRK does take a little longer to heal from than many other vision correction surgeries. You will have to wear an eye patch and avoid bright lights for a few days. You'll have anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and lubricating eye drops to use, along with antibiotics. Most people can go back to work within one to two weeks, and you can start driving again around the same time.

How good are the results?

Most people's vision can be corrected to a full 20/20 with PRK. The results will develop slowly in the first few days after the procedure. 

If you want to learn more about PRK and other vision correction services, reach out to an eye surgeon in your area.