Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is surgery to improve how well you can see. It reshapes the outer part of your eyeball, called the cornea. This surgery can fix vision problems in one or both eyes. These problems include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
To do the surgery, the doctor first cleans your eye and puts drops in it. The drops numb your eye. Then he or she uses special tools to keep your eye open. The cells on the surface of your eye are removed or pulled to one side. With a laser, the doctor then removes tissue and reshapes your cornea. Then the doctor puts a contact lens on your eye to protect it. The doctor will remove the lens 2 to 4 days after surgery.
PRK surgery takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Before surgery, you may get medicine to help you relax. During surgery, you may feel a little pressure in your eye. For 3 or 4 days after surgery, your eyes may burn or itch. You may feel like there is something in your eye. Your eye may also water more than usual.
You may see better as soon as the surgery is over. Or things may look blurry for a few days. You will probably be able to go back to work or your normal routine in about 3 to 7 days.
For some people, it takes 3 to 6 months to see as clearly as possible. But most people no longer need glasses or contact lenses.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: December 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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