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Photorefractive Keratectomy Eye Surgery

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. During PRK, an eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea. 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 four 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 two 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.

Will I Still Need Reading Glasses to Correct Presbyopia After I Have Had PRK?

Presbyopia happens in many people typically around 40 to 45 years of age and can be corrected with reading glasses or with laser refractive surgery or contact lenses creating monovision. With monovision, the non-dominant eye is corrected for reading and the dominant eye is corrected for distance. PRK is not used to correct presbyopia.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on November 06, 2013

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