When people think about laser vision correction, the first procedure they think about is usually LASIK surgery. While LASIK is extremely popular, it is unfortunately not for everyone. Luckily, there are still options. This is where PRK comes in.
PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a type of refractive surgery that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The predecessor to LASIK surgery, PRK is still widely used today. The main difference between LASIK and PRK is that PRK does not require the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the entire first layer of the cornea is removed and will grow back within a week. This makes for a longer recovery time, but is safer for those who cannot undergo LASIK.
The PRK procedure is very similar to that of LASIK. The only difference is at the beginning of the surgery. Instead of creating the corneal flap, your PRK surgeon will remove the outermost layer of your cornea (the epithelium) and discard it. Once removed, your surgeon can reshape the cornea using an excimer laser, just like during LASIK surgery. The epithelial layer will grow back within a week.
LASIK surgery is not a viable option for everyone. This is especially true if you have undergone LASIK previously, or if you lead a very active lifestyle, high combat, and military environments. PRK eliminates the risk of flap complications completely.
PRK does require a longer recovery process. Once finished with your procedure, your surgeon will insert a soft contact lens “bandage” to promote healing and protect your eye. Your cornea will regenerate epithelial cells in about four to five days, after which the bandage can be removed from your eye. After PRK, it is normal to experience some haziness, and improved vision may take several weeks. You will attend several follow-up appointments to ensure everything is healing correctly.
Can you shower after PRK surgery?
It is important to keep water out of the eyes for the first week after surgery.
Do you have to wear sunglasses indoors after PRK?
It is important to wear sunglasses both indoors and outdoors for the first few days after surgery as your cornea is healing and you will be very sensitive to light.
Can I look at screens after PRK?
Your eyes will be light sensitive for the first few days after the procedure, but after that, you can return to normal activity.
How long is vision blurry after PRK?
The vision will be blurriest for the first few days after surgery, but it can take a week or two to reach your visual potential.
Is PRK better than Lasik?
Both procedures have very similar visual outcomes, however if you are at a higher risk of trauma or injury to the eye due to your career or hobbies, PRK is a better option.
Why is vision blurry after PRK?
With PRK, the vision will be blurry for as long as it takes for the corneal epithelium to regenerate. Usually this is anytime between 4-14 days.
What happens if you rub your eyes after PRK?
Rubbing your eyes can disrupt the healing process of the corneal epithelium. You will have a contact lens in place to help the eye heal for the first few days after the procedure to add an extra layer of protection.
Can I wear glasses after PRK?
Yes, if needed, you can wear glasses after PRK and you may need reading glasses as you age, but as your eyes heal from PRK, you may not need them at all.
How do I prepare for PRK?
If you wear contact lenses, you will be asked to stop wearing them for at least one to two weeks prior to surgery. On top of that, you will want to plan for someone to drive you home after the procedure and you will likely need to take 4-7 days off work. Everything you need to know to prepare for PRK will be covered leading up to surgery.
What is the success rate of PRK surgery?
The success rate for PRK surgery is 95%. That means 95% of patients see a significant improvement in their vision.
How long does it take to recover from PRK?
It typically takes about a month to recover and see the full improvements in your vision from PRK surgery but for some patients, it can take as long as 3-6 months.
How long after PRK can I read?
Once your vision starts to improve, you can read. This usually takes a week, but can take up to several weeks.
How long does haze last after PRK?
Wearing sunglasses with full UV protection after the surgery can help to prevent haze, as well as using the eye drops your doctor prescribes. Your doctor will give you full instructions on how to prevent corneal haze. If you do experience haze, it often appears one month after surgery and reaches its peak at 3-6 months. It then begins to decrease after that.
Is it normal to have double vision after PRK?
While it’s not normal, double vision is possible after PRK surgery. While it is likely to go away as your eyes heal, it is still a good idea to let your doctor know at one of your post-op appointments if you are experiencing double vision.