PRK Xtra (or X) is an outpatient procedure combining PRK surgery and corneal cross-linking (CXL).
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is an out-patient surgical procedure used to correct refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) and to reduce dependency on glasses or contact lenses. PRK uses a laser to reshape the cornea and to improve the way the eye focuses light onto the retina. Please see 'PRK' leaflet for more information.
Corneal cross linking, or CXL, is an outpatient procedure to strengthen and stabilize a weak, unstable cornea by creating new collagen bonds using a combination of ultraviolet light (UVA) and Vitamin B12 (riboflavin). CXL is most commonly used to treat keratoconus patients or corneal ectasia occurring after refractive surgery. Please see 'CXL' leaflet for more information.
Although PRK in itself is a safe procedure, at times the 'X' will be advised to strengthen the cornea if your surgeon suspects an underlying unstable/progressive corneal condition (especially early keratoconus). PRK X is also a safer and more reliable procedure for patients with certain conditions affecting the cornea such as thin corneas or irregular corneal curvature. Your doctor will explain to you why they feel PRK X is the best option for your eyes.
After applying the laser to shape the cornea during the PRK operation, riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops are administered to the exposed cornea. UVA light is then applied. After this, antibiotic eye drops are given and a soft bandage contact lens is placed to help the healing and the re-growth of the epithelium. Sunglasses or other protective eyeglasses are recommended during the healing process. Please be assured that the UVA will not harm your eyes when applied properly.