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Eye Health Center

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Photorefractive Keratectomy Eye Surgery

How Do I Prepare for PRK Eye Surgery? continued...

If you wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses, you should not wear them starting three weeks before your evaluation. Other types of contact lenses shouldn't be worn for at least three days prior to the evaluation, as well.

On the day of your surgery, eat a light meal before coming and take all of your prescribed medications. Do not wear eye makeup or have any bulky accessories in your hair that will interfere with positioning your head under the laser. If you are not feeling well that morning, call the doctor's office to determine whether the procedure needs to be postponed.

What Happens During PRK Eye Surgery?

PRK eye surgery is done under topical anesthesia put directly into the eye, and the procedure generally takes a maximum of about 10 minutes to do both eyes. The eye surgeon will carefully remove an area of surface epithelium, “skin,” to access the top layer of the cornea before the laser treatment. The eye surgeon then uses a laser to reshape the cornea to treat your prescription. This laser, which delivers a cool pulsing beam of ultraviolet light, is used on the surface of the cornea, not underneath a layer of the cornea, as in LASIK.

What Should I Expect After PRK Eye Surgery?

Most of the time, a bandage contact lens will be applied immediately after PRK eye surgery. This contact lens is usually worn for the first three to five days to allow the surface of the eye to heal. You should expect to visit your eye doctor at least a few times during the first six months after surgery, with the first visit being one to three days after surgery. Once the surface of the eye is healed, the bandage contact lens is removed.

Your vision may fluctuate between clear and blurry for the first few weeks following eye surgery and you may need to wear glasses for night driving or reading until your vision stabilizes. Your eyes will be dry even though they do not feel that way. Your doctor will give you prescription eye drops to prevent infection and keep your eyes moist. These drops may cause a slight burn or momentary blurring of your vision upon using them. Do not use any drops not approved by your eye doctor.

Your vision will gradually improve, and usually will be good enough to allow you to drive a car within one to three weeks following surgery. Keep in mind, however, that your best vision may not be obtained for up to six weeks to six months following surgery.

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