Things to Know About PRK Recovery

Things to Know About PRK Recovery

Many people who are planning to have PRK surgery may think that post-op recovery is the same as Lasik recovery. This is not true, as PRK recovery time is longer and there are other important post-op instructions that must be followed. Most eye surgeons will require numerous follow-up office examinations. The usual schedule for office visits after PRK surgery is 24 hours, 4 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and then once a year. If there are any complications from the procedure, office visits could be more frequent. During PRK surgery recovery, patients will be instructed to refrain from any strenuous activities for usually a month following the procedure. Patients will also be instructed to refrain from using any facial lotions, creams or makeup for at least 2 weeks immediately following PRK.

Upon completion of the PRK eye surgery, the surgeon will apply bandage contact lens that must remain on until the surgeon removes them. This is usually done four days after the procedure, during the second follow-up visit. Patients during PRK surgery recovery will also be given steroid drops and antibiotic drops that must be used diligently to prevent infection and minimize any possible complications. Patients should expect to be using these eye drops for at least four months. The proper healing process is imperative for the desired correction to occur. Unlike Lasik, PRK recovery timeline is long. Patients are usually advised to avoid any activities for at least two days following the procedure. They may also experience pain and may need a pain medication for relief. Since vision will fluctuate after surgery, many people become alarmed. This is quite normal, as is hazy vision, which can last up to six months following PRK eye surgery.

my eyes are blue
Creative Commons License photo credit: james_clear

Although most individuals who have PRK experience good results, there are some risks involved with this procedure. Some people may experience vision distortion, irregular astigmatism, glaucoma or a more common side effect of haziness. This condition is usually due to patients with aggressive healing processes where corneal scars develop causing the haze. Proper screening and the use of eye drops can often reduce this risk. If the surgery causes overcorrection or under correction, patients may need a second surgery called PRK enhancement to correct this.

Most patients who choose to have PRK can expect to have 20/40 vision afterwards. This improvement in vision can allow drivers who were required by law to wear glasses before surgery to eliminate this need. Other patients may still need glasses, but the new pair will not need to be as strong. Patients who have PRK before the age of 40 should be advised that if they develop presbyopia later in life, they might require the need for vision correction for reading or doing close-up work.