Recovery is a common consideration when evaluating refractive surgery options, and there are some distinct differences between the LASIK recovery and PRK recovery. In this post, Dr. Ernest Kornmehl, a sought-after eye surgeon in Boston, discusses the PRK recovery in more detail and provides a general timeline.
LASIK Recovery vs. PRK Recovery
Both LASIK and PRK are refractive surgery procedures that reshape the cornea to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. The key difference between PRK and LASIK is that during LASIK, a flap created includes the epithelium (the outer layer of corneal cells); this flap is folded back during treatment and restored to its original position after treatment, where it seals itself. With PRK, the epithelium is removed altogether and must regenerate after treatment.
The PRK recovery is longer and can be a bit more uncomfortable than LASIK recovery, due to the nature of the surgery. The eye needs time to regenerate new epithelial cells.
What to Expect after PRK
For the first few days after your PRK procedure, you might have some sensitivity to light or notice halo or glare around bright objects, or starbursts around lights. Your eyes might have a burning sensation and be uncomfortable. You must avoid rubbing your eyes or getting water in your eyes during this period, because you could damage the epithelial cells as they regenerate. You will wear a bandage contact lens for three to five days after surgery.
When going outside during the day, you should wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes from the sunlight. You should avoid driving at night the first few days because your night vision will be impaired; have a loved one drive you, or take public transportation.
Another common symptom after PRK is dry eyes, so we recommend you carry liquid tears with you at all times in case your eyes start to feel dry. Try to avoid any environments where the air is dry, smoky or dusty.
You will have several follow-up appointments scheduled with our team so we can check your healing progress and answer any questions. We encourage you to contact us at any time if you have a question or concern.
It should take five to seven days to recover from most of the post-op side effects. You should start to notice a gradual improvement in vision a few days after surgery, with continued improvement over the next few weeks.
Learn More about PRK
For more information about the PRK surgery or recovery, feel free to contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates. Call or email us today.