PRK Eye Surgery Recovery

Woman undergoing eye surgeryPatients who undergo photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) eye surgery should expect initial healing to take about a week. However, your vision may continue to improve for six months after treatment. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the epithelium, the thin layer of tissue which makes up the outermost layer of your eye, to reshape your cornea. As you heal, this layer will grow back over your reshaped cornea to provide sharper vision. Despite the difference in the initial healing period, the PRK eye surgery recovery timeline is roughly the same as LASIK and the treatment achieves similar effects.

The First Few Days

For the first few days after your procedure, you should spend most of your time resting with your eyes closed. You may experience some temporary side effects during this time, such as:

  • Light sensitivity
  • Halos
  • Impaired night vision
  • Glare
  • Itchiness
  • Discomfort

These side effects should begin to disappear after the first few days. However, for some patients, they can last for several weeks or months.

Protect Your Eyes as They Heal

Woman applying eye dropsWhile your eyes heal, avoid rubbing or getting water in them. You should also protect your eyes from the sun and other irritants, such as smoke or dust. You will likely need to wear eye shields while you sleep to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes during the initial healing period. Since dry eye is a common concern after eye surgery, your surgeon may provide you with prescription drops to keep your eyes lubricated. You will also be provided with drops to prevent infection. 

Follow-Up Visits

You will need to attend several follow-up appointments at your surgeon’s office throughout your recovery. The first visit may occur 24 hours after your initial surgery. In addition, you will need to return to your doctor’s office about five to seven days after PRK eye surgery to have the bandage contacts removed. Follow-up visits allow your surgeon to ensure healing is progressing properly, so make sure you attend all scheduled appointments.

Full Recovery

Your vision will continue to improve for several months after the initial healing period. For some patients, it can take up to six months for their vision to fully stabilize. During this time, you may still experience certain side effects, including light sensitivity and trouble seeing clearly at night. 

While the initial healing process for PRK is slightly more involved than LASIK, the overall recovery time is essentially the same. 

Studies show that 94 percent of patients experienced an improvement in their vision after PRK. In general, side effects tend to peak around three to six months after the surgery and resolve by the end of the first year following PRK eye surgery. Some patients may still need corrective lenses for certain activities, such as reading or driving. However, PRK achieves similar results to LASIK and can greatly reduce or eliminate your dependence on corrective lenses.

Find Out More

While the initial healing process for PRK is slightly more involved than LASIK, the overall recovery time is essentially the same. For more information about recovering after PRK, contact an eye surgeon today. 

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