PRK is a type of laser vision correction surgery that corrects myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. It is an effective treatment for most patients with these refractive errors.
Your ophthalmologist will provide you with instructions on how to care for your eyes during the first week of recovery from PRK surgery. For example, you should limit your use of electronic devices to less than 2 hours a day and avoid eye rubbing or watering during this time.
PRK is a laser eye surgery that alters the contours of the cornea to correct refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism). The surgery works by changing the shape of the cornea so that light bends correctly.
It is an effective treatment for many people with vision problems like myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. In fact, up to 95 percent of patients who have undergone this type of eye surgery have improved their vision significantly without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses.
Before you can begin to consider PRK, you will need to meet with your doctor to assess your vision and eligibility for the procedure. You will be asked to complete various tests that measure pupil size, cornea thickness, refractive error and other important factors.
During the evaluation, your doctor will also talk to you about the risk of complications and answer any questions you may have. You can expect a series of follow-up appointments with your eye surgeon to ensure that your PRK surgery is successful.
Once you have determined that you are a good candidate for PRK, your doctor will provide you with the appropriate preoperative instructions. These are designed to minimize your risk of complications and allow for a smooth, safe experience.
First, you will be given anesthetic drops to numb your eyes. Then, your ophthalmologist will use a blade or special brush to remove the surface layer of the epithelium from the cornea. Your ophthalmologist will then apply computer-controlled pulses of light energy or laser to reshape your cornea.
The laser will reshape the cornea to make it curve the right way and focus on the center of your retina. You will be able to see your surroundings clearly once the procedure is complete, but you will still need corrective lenses for distance and close-up tasks.
It is normal to feel some pain after the surgery, and over-the-counter medication can help relieve this discomfort. You may also notice some blurry or hazy vision after the surgery, so be prepared to spend a week taking it easy and avoiding any activities that could strain your eyes.
Day of Surgery
PRK improves how light focuses on your retina by reshaping the cornea, the clear front part of your eye that refracts or bends light. It is a good option for patients with thin corneas and those who want to avoid the pain and risks associated with blade surgery (LASIK).
Before your PRK procedure, you will meet with the ophthalmologist and go over all of the details about the procedure. You will also discuss your health history, medications, and any special concerns you may have.
The day of the surgery, you will be asked to arrive at the hospital 2 hours before your procedure starts. This will give you time to get settled and prepare for the surgery.
You will be greeted by a nurse who can help you with any questions or concerns you have about the operation. They will also provide you with information on the pre-op area, where you will change into a gown and an IV will be started.
When your surgery is over, you will be taken to a recovery room that is close to the operating theater. This is staffed by nurses who are trained to look after people who have had anesthetic and who are recovering from the operation.
While you are recovering from the operation, your ophthalmologist will review your progress and check that you are healing well. They may recommend an antibiotic or anti-inflammatory drop, as these can help to reduce any infection.
In the days that follow, your eyes should feel better than they did before the surgery. However, it can take 1 to 3 weeks for your vision to fully recover from the procedure. In the first few days after PRK, your vision may be slightly blurry. This is because the top layer of your cornea has been shaved, and it takes several days for this surface to heal.
A few days after the operation, you will be given lubricating eye drops to help with dryness and itching. You should also be encouraged to drink plenty of water, as this can help to keep your eyes hydrated.
In order to help you recover from PRK surgery, you need to follow your doctor’s post-operative care instructions. This includes avoiding rubbing your eyes, watering your eyes, and wearing protective eye shields. This will help your eyes heal and prevent infection.
You will also need to avoid using any makeup or skincare products around your eyes for about a week after you get PRK. The reason is that chemicals and foreign material can enter the eye while it is healing, which could cause further damage to your cornea or other parts of the eye.
During the first few days after your PRK, you will experience itching and discomfort in the eyes. These symptoms will decrease as the epithelial cells grow back and your vision improves.
While your vision will still be blurry, it will be much clearer than before the procedure. Most people can see well enough to drive after about a week.
Your ophthalmologist will give you specific directions for your PRK recovery, which include limiting your activity. This will help your eyes rest and recover properly so that they can heal and your vision can get back to normal.
Patients should also avoid activities that put a strain on their eyes, such as watching TV or reading. This will help ensure that they are able to heal quickly and completely.
After you have healed, your ophthalmologist will give you medication to reduce the pain and swelling. You should try to take the medicine at regular intervals. You should also use eye drops to help your eyes stay hydrated and protect them from infection and inflammation.
You will likely need to wear a prescription eye patch during this time, which will prevent you from scratching your eyes while they are healing. This will help you heal more quickly and prevent infection.
During the early days after you have PRK, you will also experience some light sensitivity problems. This is because your eyes are adjusting to the new shape of your cornea. This can cause some glare, halos, starbursts, and haziness in bright environments or lights.
During the recovery period after PRK surgery, you’ll be treated for any complications and concerns. If your doctor notices anything, he or she will schedule an appointment for you to come in and discuss the issue.
The first few days following PRK are dedicated to resting, giving your eyes a chance to heal. During this time, you may experience some discomfort or itching, but these symptoms will clear up as your eyes recover. Over-the-counter pain relievers and the bandage contact lens will help you manage any discomfort you might be experiencing.
You can also expect your vision to be hazy during this time, but this will improve over the course of two weeks or so. However, if your vision is worse than this, you should contact your eye surgeon immediately.
Your ophthalmologist can give you some advice on how to best care for your eyes during this period, such as by using the prescription eye drops that are provided. You can also take vitamin C supplements, which are proven to be helpful for healing after surgery.
Another thing to remember after PRK is to avoid smoky, dry, or dusty environments, which can increase your risk for eye irritation. In addition, avoid putting makeup or other creams on your eyes that can irritate them.
It’s also important to avoid water, as this can irritate your eyes and cause them to burn. You can also try to avoid sweating as this can also exacerbate your eye irritation.
Finally, make sure to get plenty of sleep as this will help your body to heal more easily and safely. It’s also a good idea to stay away from activities that can strain your eyes such as watching TV, reading, or doing any computer work.
Getting the right treatment, educating yourself on the procedure, and having a great team of people around you to guide you through the process are all key factors in a successful laser vision correction surgery. With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to a better quality of life with less dependence on glasses or contact lenses.