Entering the realm of clear vision without the aid of glasses or contact lenses is indeed liberating, and PRK surgery makes this possible for many. However, it’s essential to comprehend that the journey doesn’t end with the surgery. The road to recovery and adjusting to a new life after PRK surgery requires patience and diligent care. This blog provides a comprehensive guide on what to expect after PRK surgery and offers valuable tips to ensure a smooth and successful healing process.
What Is PRK?
Photorefractive Keratectomy, commonly known as PRK, is a type of refractive eye surgery. It is designed to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. The goal of PRK, like other forms of laser eye surgery, is to modify the shape of the cornea, allowing light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clear vision.
PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and predates LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis). While the goal of both PRK and LASIK is the same, the procedures differ in how the eye is prepared for reshaping.
As with any surgical procedure, PRK comes with potential risks and complications. So it’s important for individuals considering the surgery to discuss these factors with their eye surgeon. This will help to make an informed decision.
What To Expect After PRK Surgery?
Breaking down the after-PRK surgery experience into distinct stages can provide a clearer picture of the recovery process. Let’s look at the things that you can expect in next day, the end of the first week, and the end of the first month:
The Next Day
After PRK surgery, patients often experience some discomfort, light sensitivity, and blurry vision. This discomfort can feel like a burning or gritty sensation in the eye. And these sensations are typically the most intense during the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. It’s crucial to rest your eyes as much as possible and avoid bright light. Patients are usually given a protective eye shield to wear when sleeping, along with sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun. You’ll likely have a follow-up appointment with your doctor to ensure healing is progressing as expected.
In a Week
By the end of the first week, the protective contact lens placed by your surgeon to facilitate healing is typically removed. At this point, the surface of the eye, known as the epithelium, has usually regenerated. Some of the initial discomforts should have subsided, but vision may still be blurry. It’s common to experience some fluctuations in vision during this period. You will likely still be using prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and control inflammation.
In a Month
By the end of the first month, many of the immediate post-operative symptoms like light sensitivity and eye discomfort should have improved significantly. However, you may still experience some fluctuations in your vision, and it may not have cleared entirely yet. It’s important to note that complete visual recovery varies between individuals and can take up to 3 to 6 months, so patience is key. You should be attending regular follow-up appointments with your eye doctor throughout this period to monitor your healing progress.
Continue using any prescribed eye medications as directed by your doctor. Remember, the recovery process from PRK surgery requires time and patience, but the end result of improved vision is usually well worth it.