PRK Surgery Recovery Timeline

closeup of hazel eyes on a woman

Photorefractive keratectomy, better known as PRK, has become a popular alternative vision correction surgery for those who aren’t a good fit for LASIK. The process involves reshaping the cornea with a laser, so light entering the eye is focused on the retina to produce clear images. PRK surgery time is usually about 10 minutes per eye and involves numbing drops for a painless experience.

But what happens afterward? What does the recovery process look like in the following days and weeks? If a PRK surgery is in your future, our timeline will give you a clear idea of what to expect after the procedure.

First Few Days

As with most surgeries, the first few days are the most critical period in the recovery process. With PRK, this is when the epithelium regrows to cover your cornea. To help promote this healing and protect your eyes, your doctor will place a bandage contact lens in your eye. This contact will need to be worn for about five days after your surgery.

You may also experience:

  • Sore or scratchy eyes: You must not rub your eyes while they are healing. You may want to use over-the-counter pain medicine for any discomfort.
  • Halos or glare around lights at night: An eye mask can be used while sleeping if this is bothersome.
  • Dryness: You will receive eye drops to keep them lubricated.

You will need to schedule a checkup with your surgeon a few days after your procedure to see how your healing progresses.

Week One

Based on the results of your post-surgery checkup, your doctor will provide you with guidelines to address any complications and make sure you’re comfortable as you continue to heal. In general, you may continue to experience:

  • Sensitivity to light: Minimize sun exposure during the first week.
  • Glare or other night vision issues: Sunglasses may help with this issue if you must be out past dark.
  • Soreness: Remember to avoid rubbing your eyes, so you don’t damage your cornea.

The good news is your eyes will make the most progress during this time, so you should see a dramatic improvement in your eyesight.

Weeks Two to Four

Healing should have progressed enough by this point that you can drive safely and return to work. Most visual side effects should be gone by now, though occasional glares or halos are not uncommon for the first month. You will likely continue to use prescription eyedrops that keep these symptoms at bay as the corneal tissue heals. However, if you have any concerning or worsening symptoms, you should contact your surgeon.

Around this time, you can also begin to add back in activities that were limited in the first week, including wearing makeup or face lotion and getting your hair colored. For the first couple of weeks, though, you should continue to avoid:

  • High-impact or contact sports
  • Swimming or hot tubs
  • Dusting or working around dirt that could affect the cornea’s healing

Two Months

Side effects will continue to diminish during this time, with halos disappearing and glare becoming less of an issue. Night vision should also improve, though you may still feel occasional dryness. Your surgeon will let you know how often you need to be seen based on progressing your healing.

Six Months

By this time, you should have fully recovered from PRK surgery and met with your surgeon multiple times to evaluate the procedure’s success. Your vision will likely have reached maximum improvement. PRK typically results in 20/20 or better vision without needing glasses or contacts!

Visionary Eye Doctors is at the forefront of PRK technology. Ready to find out if you’re a candidate? Call our office today at 301-867-7920 to schedule a consultation with our expert surgeons. You can also schedule an appointment online.

How To Know if You Need Pterygium Removal Surgery

Closeup of a patient's eye with a pterygium

A pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm) is an abnormal growth on the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane covering the eye. It’s also known as “surfer’s eye” because factors such as UV exposure, getting sand in your eyes, and living in a tropical climate increase the risk of developing this condition. Pterygium may look a little strange, but rest assured that it’s not cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with pterygium, it’s essential to begin treatment immediately. If your symptoms are relatively mild, your eye doctor may recommend conservative treatments to manage pterygium without surgery. However, the only way to remove the growth entirely on your conjunctiva is to get pterygium surgery. Here are the factors that play into your decision to have your pterygium surgically removed.


Minor pterygium growth is usually treatable with eyedrops that improve lubrication and reduce redness and inflammation. However, itchiness, irritation, burning, grittiness, and the sensation that something is “in your eye” may persist in severe cases. If you experience constant discomfort despite taking over-the-counter medicine, you have a viable reason to consider pterygium surgery.

Corneal Distortion

Pterygium growth usually begins in the corner of the eye and slowly spreads toward the cornea, the clear surface on the front of the eye. If the pterygium extends onto the cornea, it may distort the shape of your eye and cause a condition called astigmatism. This imperfection of the corneal curve causes blurry vision and may prevent you from wearing your contact lenses. If your pterygium is starting to affect the shape of your cornea, surgery should solve the problem.

Poor Vision

Mild pterygium doesn’t usually affect vision. Typically, the wedge-shaped growth only covers the white of the eye, or it may partially obscure the iris. With conservative treatment, pterygium often stops progressing at this point. However, if the pterygium grows, it may eventually cover the pupil. In addition to potentially distorting the cornea and causing astigmatism, this may lead to obstructed or double vision. If you begin experiencing poor eyesight because of pterygium, it’s time to consider surgery.

Unattractive Appearance

Your eyes are one of the first things people notice about you. If you have a wedge-shaped growth covering the whites of your eyes and part of your irises, you might start feeling self-conscious about the way your eyes look. People may even make remarks or ask questions about your condition, making you even more insecure. Rest assured that pterygium surgery entirely removes the growth in your eyes, leaving you with an excellent cosmetic outcome.

Schedule Pterygium Removal Surgery at Visionary Eye Doctors

Our experienced ophthalmologist, Dr. J. Alberto Martinez, treats pterygium with Advanced Sutureless Amniotic Membrane Pterygiectomy (ASAP™). Dr. Martinez has performed over 12,000 pterygium surgeries with superior patient outcomes and an incredibly low recurrence rate of less than 1%. These factors place Dr. Martinez among the top pterygium surgeons in the world.

The ASAP™ procedure uses an advanced autograft technique and tissue “glue” to deliver no-stitch pterygium surgery. It’s possible to place the tissue adhesive in mere seconds rather than taking minutes to apply stitches. An amniotic membrane is also placed in the eye to aid the healing process and decrease inflammation. The tissue adhesive dissolves in about a week, leaving no residue and allowing the eye to heal comfortably.

For more information about pterygium surgery and other treatment options, please contact Visionary Eye Doctors online or call us at 301-896-0890. We have three offices in the DC area to better serve you.