Recovery from PRK Surgery: What to Expect

By William Holcomb on February 11, 2016

A woman using eyedropsPatients of Holcomb Laser Center can expect exceptional eye care using the latest technology. This commitment to patient satisfaction and advanced technology has made us one of the leading laser eye care centers in the Madison area.

Many patients have questions about PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), a common LASIK surgery alternative. Let's cover the basics of the procedure and then consider the recovery process.

About PRK

PRK is a refractive surgery that's performed to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. The procedure involves the careful removal of the topmost layer of the cornea (the epithelium) and the reshaping of the overall corneal contour using a safe surgical laser.

How Does PRK Recovery Compare to Other Refractive Surgery Procedures?

PRK recovery is similar to LASIK recovery, though it should be noted that PRK patients often report a little more pain/discomfort as they heal and may require a day or so more as well. This is because the epithelium needs to grow back as part of recovery.

Avoid Potential Eyestrain for the First 24 Hours

For the first 24 hours after PRK surgery, it's of the utmost importance that you avoid any activities that may result in eyestrain or weakening of the eyes. This includes reading a book or magazine, using the computer, using your smart phone or tablet, watching television, or playing videogames. Focus on rest instead so your eyes can heal faster and your can recover with fewer potential complications.

Wear Your Eye Shields as Directed

After undergoing PRK, you will be given special protective goggles to wear. These eye shields will prevent you from inadvertently rubbing or touching your eyes. The eye shields will also help prevent foreign objects from coming in contact with your eyes. This helps avoid infection as well as complications with the healing of your eyes. You will wear these goggles at all times for the first day or so, and then only while sleeping for a few days afterward.

Use Medicated Eye Drops and Liquid Tears as Directed

During your recovery, you will be given medicated eye drops to use in order to prevent infection and ensure that you heal properly. Be sure to use these as directed on the prescription.

In addition, please note that dry eye is a common side effect after PRK is performed. Be sure to carry liquid tears with you at all times as you recover. These will help lubricate your eyes and alleviate irritation as you are healing.

Wear Sunglasses If You Go Outdoors

You will experience some acute light sensitivity in the first few days after you undergo PRK. If you go outdoors, be sure to wear sunglasses to help reduce the discomfort you experience and to protect your eyes as you heal. It's also a good idea to wear a hat with a brim for additional protection from bright light.

Attend All Scheduled Follow-Up Visits

PRK patients will have a few follow-up visits as they recovery, with the first visit occurring a few days to a week after surgery an periodically afterward. Be sure to attend all of these visits as scheduled as they will allow us to assess your recovery and ensure that you're healing properly.

Contact Holcomb Laser Center

For more information about PRK and your many other options for advanced eye care, be sure to contact our laser eye surgery and vision correction center today. The entire team here at Holcomb Laser Center will work with you to ensure you receive optimal eye care and achieve the best vision possible.

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