Patients will often experience light sensitivity during the first week of recovery from PRK surgery (photorefractive keratectomy) and should experience fully stabilized vision within six months to a year. Because the outer epithelial layer of your cornea is removed completely, PRK recovery takes slightly longer than LASIK recovery, but yields comparable results. Dr. Walter Choate in Goodlettsville, TN, can help you understand what to expect during your immediate and continuing recovery. Being fully informed is the first step towards successful, comfortable treatment.
About 70 percent of patients attain 20/20 vision, and only five percent of patients need corrective eyewear following PRK.
The total healing time for PRK is approximately six to 12 months. Every patient's recovery will vary slightly but you can expect to experience several distinct stages.
Following your PRK procedure, soft contact lenses will be placed as protective barriers until your epithelium regenerates, which typically occurs in three to five days. Dr. Choate will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and topical antibiotics to reduce the risk of discomfort and infection. You will notice blurred vision immediately after your procedure. This effect is normal and may linger for up to five days. A friend or family member will need to drive you home following surgery.
Light sensitivity, slight discomfort, and irritation are all normal during the first few days of healing. Many patients experience glare or a halo effect, as well. We will provide you with eye drops and other medications, including detailed post-operative instructions. Resting your eyes and keeping them closed as much as possible will allow the epithelium to regenerate more quickly. For this reason, Dr. Choate recommends recovering at home during the first one to three days.
You will visit our office for a follow-up appointment approximately three to five days after the procedure. The soft, protective contact lenses placed after the surgery will be removed and we will examine your corneas to ensure proper healing is taking place. At this point, most or all of your epithelium will have regenerated. Blurry vision is normal at this juncture, but should only be temporary.
Most patients can resume driving again at one to three weeks, though special precautions should be taken since depth perception and vision can fluctuate. Sensitivity and the glaring effect should become more diminished, and your vision should continue to sharpen. As you become used to your new sight, your vision will stabilize.
Your vision should become even more refined, though some patients experience further improvement up to one year, and your need for corrective eyewear will be reduced or completely eliminated. Statistically, about 70 percent of patients attain 20/20 vision, and only five percent of patients need corrective eyewear following PRK surgery.
If you have grown tired of wearing contacts or glasses, you might be a good candidate for corrective vision surgery. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Choate to see if PRK is right for you. Call our office at (615) 851-7575 or contact us online.