Complete PRK recovery can take up to six months, though many patients experience noticeably clearer vision within a few days of surgery. Upon full recovery, PRK patients find they experience results comparable to LASIK. If you are not a good candidate for LASIK, PRK can be a viable alternative. To learn more about what you can expect during the PRK recovery period, please schedule a consultation at our Austin, TX, office today.
Why PRK Recovery Takes Longer than LASIK
Removal of the epithelium is the primary reason PRK recovery takes longer than LASIK recovery. During LASIK, a tissue flap is created in the cornea. This allows access to the underlying tissues, which are reshaped to correct your vision. After surgery, the flap acts as a bandage. During PRK surgery, the entire epithelium (the thin outer layer of the cornea) is removed. The epithelium typically regenerates within a few days.
If you are not a good candidate for LASIK, PRK may be a viable alternative.
Immediately after Surgery
You will receive topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce your risk of infection and to minimize your discomfort and swelling. Some patients experience improvements in their vision within a few days, as the epithelium heals. For others, it can take several weeks to experience a noticeable improvement in vision.
First Few Weeks
Within the first few weeks, you should begin to notice improvements in your vision. You may still experience some haziness and blurriness. It can take several weeks or more for your vision to begin to stabilize. Most patients can drive again within one to three weeks. Throughout the entire recovery process, you will meet with your doctor periodically to monitor your progress. Your doctor can help you determine when it is safe to begin driving again and when you can return to work.
First Several Months
It may take between three to six months to fully recover. By then, most patients’ vision is improved enough to perform regular daily tasks. You may still notice haziness and blurriness during this time.
Once your vision stabilizes, you can expect to achieve at least 20/40 vision. Most patients experience 20/20 vision after PRK surgery. Your final results will depend on your vision prior to surgery, your age, and other factors. In some cases, you may still need a prescription for contact lenses or eyeglasses. The prescription, however, will be lower than what you required before surgery. Patients must understand that refractive surgery cannot stop the natural aging process, which will continue to take a toll on your vision. Eventually, a touch-up treatment or more powerful glasses prescription may be necessary.
Schedule Your PRK Consultation
With PRK surgery, you can experience clearer vision and a lifestyle improved by greater independence from contacts and glasses. If you are not a candidate for LASIK, PRK may be a better option. Under our care, you can expect to be informed every step of the way. Contact Broberg Eye Care today to schedule a consultation.