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PRK Recovery Process 

Category: PRK

What is PRK?

Many people have heard of LASIK, but what is the difference between PRK & LASIK? PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy, is a vision correction procedure used to correct vision by reshaping the cornea. While it can be a safe and effective way to improve vision, it’s important to understand the recovery process before undergoing this type of surgery. PRK surgery has been around since the mid-1980s. It’s designed to correct vision issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Let’s take a look at how PRK surgery works and why it’s an effective solution for those suffering from vision problems. 


What Does PRK Do? 

When light enters the eye, it passes through the cornea—the clear front surface of the eye—before reaching the retina. When you have refractive errors, your cornea prevents light from being focused properly on your retina, resulting in blurry vision. PRK laser eye surgery reshapes your cornea with an excimer laser to correct these errors so that light can be focused properly on your retina. This allows you to see clearly without the need to wear glasses or contact lenses to help correct poor vision. 



Unlike other popular refractive surgery procedures like LASIK eye surgery, PRK surgery is one layer step. With PRK laser eye surgery, the outer layer of cells—your epithelium—is removed before reshaping the cornea with an excimer laser. Once this step is complete, your epithelium will regenerate naturally over a few days. 


The recovery process for PRK can also be slower than with LASIK recovery as there are more steps involved in healing after PRK laser eye surgery than after LASIK eye surgery. The recovery time typically depends on how quickly your epithelium (corneal tissue) regenerates after surgery but ranges anywhere from 3-7 days with most individuals returning to their regular activities a few days after the procedure. 


After PRK Eye Surgery

Immediately after your PRK procedure, you will experience some discomfort in your eyes. This is normal and should subside within a few days of having the surgery done. You may also notice that your eyes are sensitive to light for a few days following the procedure. Your doctor will likely advise you to wear sunglasses when outdoors for at least two weeks to protect your eyes from any potential irritation caused by sunlight or other bright lights. You will also need to use artificial tears every few hours during the first week or two after your surgery as part of your post-op care regimen. Your doctor may prescribe antimicrobial drops throughout the healing period which helps reduce inflammation and accelerate healing time. It’s important that you follow all instructions given by your doctor regarding post-op care as doing so can help ensure a successful outcome from your procedure as well as minimize any potential risks associated with it.


PRK Recovery Timeline

The final vision healing process after PRK vision correction surgery typically takes between three and four months, although many PRK patients report seeing results sooner than this timeframe if they closely adhere to their post-op care instructions provided by their doctor. During this time, it’s important that you refrain from engaging in activities such as swimming, contact sports, or any activity where there is an increased risk of eye injury since these could delay healing or even cause further damage to your eyesight if done too soon after having PRK done. Additionally, be sure to attend all check-up appointments with your eye doctor so they can monitor progress and make sure everything is healing properly. 


PRK is an effective way of correcting vision problems and blurry vision without using glasses or contacts while providing long-lasting results in most cases. As with any surgical procedure though, it’s important that you understand what’s involved in terms of recovery before proceeding with the operation so that you know what signs and symptoms are normal during this period and which ones may require medical attention right away if they occur unexpectedly during the recovery time frame.


Be sure to talk to one of our doctors about not only the benefits of vision correction, but also any risks of vision correction that may pertain to your individual needs and circumstances.

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