What Is It Like to Get PRK?

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a form of laser eye surgery that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.  When a patient has PRK, surgeons start by removing the superficial layer of their cornea then they shave off some parts of it to correct any refractive errors.

Before Surgery

There is some preperation necessary before undergoing the PRK procedure. Patients should stop taking medications that affect blood clotting and need to avoid wearing contact lenses for one week beforehand. Patients must also remove any makeup and hair products. The day of surgery, patients arrive at the clinic and are given anesthesia eye drops to put in their eyes.

The Surgery

The surgery usually lasts for about 10 minutes per eye and is painless. Once it is done, patients need to rest and keep their eyes closed for a few hours. After that, they can go back home and take it easy for the rest of the day. It is important not to rub or scratch the eyes during recovery.

The Recovery

The recovery time for PRK is about 2 weeks. During that time, patients need to keep their eyes clean and avoid irritants such as water, dirt, makeup, and smoke from entering their eyes. You also need to rest their eyes as much as possible for the first week after surgery. You can then gradually resume normal activities, however, it generally takes about 6 months for PRK patients to get back to sports like cycling or basketball.

Day 1 After Surgery

The day after surgery, some patients feel like their eyes are itchy and scratchy. This is normal and usually goes away within a few days. Some patients also experience mild pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. These symptoms usually go away within the first week after surgery. Patients should avoid wearing contact lenses during this time and should continue to avoid rubbing their eyes.

Day 2-14 After Surgery

By the second or third day after surgery your eyes may still be a little itchy and sensitive to light but overall patients are starting to feel more normal.

2-5 Weeks After the Surgery

After 2-5 weeks, patients should be feeling back to normal. Their vision may not be perfect yet but it is definitely improving. There may still be some sensitivity to light and some mild discomfort but overall patients are recovering well. Vision continues to improve gradually in the following months.

6 Months After Surgery

At 6 months after surgery, patients have usually recovered fully. You will be able to enjoy clearer vision without needing to fully rely on eyeglasses or contacts.


Undergoing PRK is a life-changing decision that can improve your quality of life. If you are considering PRK, contact Eyecare Physicians & Surgeons of New Jersey today.

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