Common Questions About PRK
Is PRK painful?
Although we numb your eyes prior to PRK, the process is slightly more uncomfortable than a LASIK procedure. Most patients do not describe it as painful.
Am I awake during my PRK procedure?
Yes. You will remain awake during the PRK procedure. The relaxation medication we provide will not put you to sleep.
Can I wear my contacts when I come in for my pre-PRK exam?
No. Because contacts alter the corneal shape you must discontinue wearing contacts prior to your exam:
- Soft contact lenses: discontinue for 2 weeks
- Toric contact lenses: discontinue for 3 weeks
- Hard contact lenses: discontinue 5 full weeks minimum*
- Gas permeable lenses: discontinue 5 weeks minimum*
When can I return to work after PRK?
PRK recovery takes slightly longer than LASIK. Plan to allow a healing time of 5 to 8 days. Your vision may not be fully stabilized at that time, but the outer corneal layer should be regenerated.
What restrictions will I have after PRK?
- Do not swim for 2 weeks
- Do not wear eye makeup for 1 week
- Do not participate in contact sports for 2 weeks
- Use protective eyewear for 3 months when playing sports where the eye could be hit (i.e. basketball); protective eyewear should be worn by everyone while playing sports with a higher probability of eye injury
- Do not rub your eye for 4 weeks
- Avoid getting soap, water, perfume, hairspray and aftershave in your eyes for 1 week
- Do not drive until your vision is clear
Is the effect of PRK surgery permanent?
Yes. PRK vision correction provides permanent changes to your vision.
Can PRK eliminate my reading glasses?
Possibly. The need for reading glasses as you enter your 40s is caused by a condition called presbyopia. This natural part of the aging process is not a refractive error but rather a change in the flexibility of your eye lenses. Even if you have successful PRK, you may still need reading glasses later in life.
A process called monovision** may provide clear vision at all distances by treating one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision.
Is PRK new?
No. PRK was actually the first approved vision correction procedure – years before LASIK.
What can I expect after PRK?
The weeks following your surgery you may experience:
- Discomfort and possible swelling for 5 to 8 days.
- Temporary vison fluctuations, night driving difficulties or halos during the first several weeks due to dryness. Artificial tears can provide relief.
- Temporary vision difficulties in dimly lit areas until the eyes are fully healed.
- Halos that persist after the first several weeks may indicate under correction. An enhancement (additional laser treatment) would fix under correction. There is no fee if an enhancement is needed.
- You may experience initial overcorrection if you are being treated for farsightedness. This usually stabilizes in 2 weeks.
Can I have PRK if I am farsighted?
Yes. PRK can help correct farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Find Out if LASIK or PRK is Right for You
* At your pre-PRK exam a corneal mapping will be performed. If Dr. Boling II notes irregularities, the mapping will be repeated at 1 week intervals until stability is documented.
** Please ask our surgical consultant for a further explanation of monovision. With monovision, the cornea of your non-dominant eye is treated to create slight nearsightedness. This nearsightedness (steeper cornea) has a stronger focusing power and is able to bend light rays that your lens cannot bend due to loss of elasticity. Your dominant eye is treated for 20/20 distance vision. With both eyes open distance and near vision is clear. If you are over 50 years of age, monovision allows you to see your dashboard, computer, stovetop, menu but you will need glasses to read for an extended period of time.