PRK Surgery Recovery Timeline

closeup of hazel eyes on a woman

Imagine life without blurry vision, contact lenses, or glasses. Photorefractive keratectomy, better known as PRK, has become a popular alternative vision correction surgery for those who are not a good fit for LASIK surgery. This is a type of laser eye surgery involving reshaping the cornea so that light entering the eye is focused on the retina to produce clear images. 

What is PRK Surgery

In PRK surgery, the entire outer layer of the cornea called the epithelium, is completely removed to uncover the surgical site. This contrasts with LASIK, where a thin, movable flap is made in the cornea and delicately put back in its original place after the procedure. Like LASIK, PRK surgery employs a computer-guided excimer laser to shape the cornea and rectify the refractive error. 

The results are life-changing.​​ By correcting refractive errors, this surgery can provide clearer vision, allowing you to see the world in detail. The convenience and freedom that comes with being independent of glasses or contact lenses are transformative. Activities that were once a nuisance with glasses and contacts, such as swimming, exercising, or playing sports, become much more enjoyable. The hassle of carrying and maintaining glasses or dealing with the insertion and removal of contact lenses is eliminated, adding a level of convenience and comfort to daily life. Start seeing the world the way you want with PRK surgery. 

The PRK surgery itself is usually about 10 minutes per eye and involves numbing drops for a painless experience. But what happens afterward during the healing process? 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 PRK procedure.

First Few Days

As with most laser vision correction 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 eye surgeon will place a bandage contact lens in your eye. This contact will need to be worn for about five days after your surgery. Healing from eye surgery can be uncomfortable, but it is important to prioritize rest during this period. The hard part, the surgery, is already over so it is time to finish this process strong by correctly completing the recovery process.

During this time, it is normal for PRK patients it also experience:

  • Sore or scratchy eyes: You must not rub your eyes while they are healing. To manage pain, you can 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: If you are experiencing dry eye, you will receive eye drops and artificial tears to keep them lubricated.

Though these symptoms are normal during the first few days, your doctor still needs to closely monitor them. You will need to schedule follow-up visits with your surgeon after your surgical 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. PRK specialists know that the recovery process of this surgery is bothersome and want to make sure you are comfortable as you continue to heal. 

In general, during your recovery time, you may continue to experience:

  • Light Sensitivity: Minimize sun and bright light exposure during the first week. It can be boring to sit in a dimly lit room, but it is important to give your eyes a break when healing. 
  • Glare or other night vision issues: Your eyes have a hard time processing light after being operated on. To combat glare and night vision issues, sunglasses may help if you must be out past dark. 
  • Soreness: Remember to avoid rubbing your eyes, so you don’t damage your cornea. Your eyes are susceptible to infection after surgery and you must do your best to not introduce harmful bacteria. 

The good news is your eyes will make the most progress during this time, so you should see a dramatic improvement in your visual acuity. Patience is key during this recovery process but the visual improvements you can begin to see during this period will be reassuring and motivating!

Weeks Two to Four

Healing should have progressed enough by this point that you can resume normal activities such as driving and working. 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 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 you should continue to avoid:

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

Though there are still minor activity restrictions during this time, it will be exciting to experience things with this new visual perspective. Just imagine that your first time driving without bulky glasses or looking at your work computer without dry contacts! 

Two Months

With two months of healing under your belt, improvements to your vision will be enormous. 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. 

Though most people are feeling back to normal by this time, don’t feel like you need to be alone during this process. Post-op care is just as big of a priority to PRK doctors as the actual procedure. Keep in close contact with your surgeon so they can let you know how often you need to be seen; based on the progress of your healing. 

PRK surgery recoverySix Months

With about half a year of patience and hard work, your life can be completely changed by PRK surgery. By this time, you should have fully recovered and met with your surgeon multiple times to evaluate the procedure’s success. Typically resulting in 20/20 or better vision, PRK surgery can completely take away your need for glasses or contacts! 

Begin Your PRK Surgery Process 

After you make it through this recovery journey, it is time to begin enjoying life without blurred vision. It is easy to put off vision problems, especially if you were not the right candidate for a LASIK procedure, but now is as good of a time to invest in your health. Visionary Eye Doctors is at the forefront of corrective eye surgery, especially PRK procedures. 

Ready to find out if you’re a candidate? Call our office today at 301-896.0890 to schedule a consultation with our expert surgeons. You can also schedule an appointment online.

Eye pterygium

How To Know if You Need Pterygium Removal Surgery

A pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm) is an abnormal tissue growth filled with blood vessels 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 tropical or dusty environments 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. In mild cases, 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.

Eye healthy and with pterygium. Conjunctival degeneration before and after surgery. Eye disease. Human organ of vision with pathology. Vector realistic illustration.


Minor pterygium growth is usually treatable with artificial tears that improve lubrication and reduce redness and inflammation. However, itchiness, irritation, burning, grittiness, dry eyes, 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, surgical treatment should solve the problem.

Poor Vision

Mild pterygium doesn’t usually cause vision problems. 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 visual disturbances because of pterygium, it’s time to consider surgery.

Cosmetic Reasons

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.

What is the Recovery Time for Pterygium Surgery

Before and after surgery

The recovery time for pterygium surgery, especially with the ASAP™ method, is generally short. This is a minimally invasive surgery, which helps reduce both discomfort and healing time. Patients typically can return to their normal activities soon after the procedure. The surgical area quickly regains a normal appearance as the tissue glue used dissolves within about a week, allowing the eye to heal efficiently and minimizing disruption to daily life.

What Are The Chances of Pterygium Recurrence

The chance of pterygium recurrence after surgery is influenced by the surgical approach and post-operative care. Dr. Martinez has performed over 12,000 pterygium surgeries with superior patient outcomes and an incredibly low recurrence rate of less than 0.01%. These factors place Dr. Martinez among the top pterygium surgeons in the world.

To further minimize the risk of recurrent pterygium, it is crucial for patients to adopt preventive measures. Wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat to shield the eyes from UV exposure is recommended. Such precautions are essential, especially considering UV exposure is a significant factor in the development of primary pterygium. By adhering to these guidelines, patients can significantly reduce the likelihood of recurrence, ensuring the long-term success of the surgery.

Schedule Pterygium Removal Surgery at Visionary Eye Doctors

Doctor, vision or black woman in eye exam consultation or assessment for eyesight at optometrist office. Mature or senior optician helping a customer testing or checking iris or retina visual health

Our experienced ophthalmologist, Dr. J. Alberto Martinez, treats pterygium with Advanced Sutureless Amniotic Membrane Pterygiectomy (ASAP™). 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 removal and other surgical procedure options, please contact Visionary Eye Doctors online or call us at (301) 591-1763. We have three offices in the DC area to better serve you.