People who suffer from vision impairment often seek laser vision correction to improve their eyesight. The most well-known of these procedures is LASIK. LASIK corrects imperfections on the cornea that are responsible for the most common refractive errors. While LASIK is effective, it is not right for everyone. Many people are better candidates for photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK.
Dr. Raul Peña is happy to offer PRK at his Harlingen, TX, eye institute. PRK provides results that are comparable to LASIK, but it requires a slightly longer recovery time. Here people can learn more about the typical PRK surgery recovery, including how long it takes for the vision to improve.
During PRK surgery, the top layer of the cornea is completely removed. This allows Dr. Peña to alter corneal tissues and correct abnormalities that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. To protect the cornea as it heals, a bandage contact lens will be placed over the treated eye. Patients should leave this bandage in place until it is removed by Dr. Peña, which is usually five to seven days after surgery.
In addition to the bandage contact lens, our Harlingen patients will be provided with medicated eye drops. These drops should be applied exactly as directed. They help the cornea heal and reduce the risk of infection, both of which are vital to the ultimate success of surgery. Finally, patients may want to use over-the-counter pain medication during the early stages of PRK recovery. This can reduce the discomfort that is common in the days following treatment.
Other helpful aftercare instructions following PRK include:
- Rest as much as possible, especially in the first few days of recovery
- Avoid exposure to bright lights, including TV and phone screens
- Avoid getting makeup, lotion, or soap around the eye area
- Refrain from exercise and contact sports until cleared by Dr. Peña
PRK Side Effects
Just like LASIK, PRK does result in some side effects. Most of these side effects are mild to moderate in nature and last no more than five to seven days, with gradual improvement starting around four days after surgery. The most common side effects of PRK include:
- Watery eyes
- Dry, itchy eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
If side effects persist beyond a week into recovery they should be reported to Dr. Peña so he can rule out complications.
When Will My Vision Improve?
Our Harlingen PRK patients are often most anxious to learn how quickly their vision will improve after surgery. Vision enhancement is gradual after PRK treatment. In the first few days of recovery the vision is likely to be blurry; patients may feel like they are seeing everything through a film. Once the bandage contact lens is removed, there should be noticeable improvement. Optimal vision results will take longer, but patients should see well enough to drive, work, and perform other essential functions within a week after surgery.
In the weeks following treatment the vision will continue to improve. Patients may deal with some visual abnormalities, such as glares or halos around sources of light, but the vision will likely be clear otherwise. By three to six months post-surgery, any visual abnormalities should have resolved and optimal surgical results should be achieved. Most patients recover from PRK surgery with 20/40 vision or better.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you suffer from vision impairment and are ready to reduce your reliance on prescription lenses, you may be an ideal candidate for laser vision correction. To learn more about the procedures offered by Dr. Raul Peña, send us a message online or call (956) 661-8733 to schedule an appointment.