Understanding PRK Side Effects

PRK Side Effects - Hudson Valley, NY


Oct 6, 2017 @ 09:00 AM — by Richard Gordon
Tagged with: Prk | Eye Care |

Blue-eyed woman having eye examPhotorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is an excellent corrective vision option, successfully treating myopic, hyperopic, and astigmatic refractive conditions. At Palisades Laser Eye Center in Hudson Valley, NY, Dr. Richard Gordon performs PRK surgery for patients wishing to reduce or eliminate their need for eye glasses or contacts. It is important to understand common PRK side effects, so you can identify whether or not your symptoms are normal.

What Are the Common Side Effects of PRK Surgery?

When compared to LASIK surgery, PRK requires a longer recovery. Typically, total healing takes approximately six to 12 months. As with any medical procedure, side effects can occur following PRK. It is normal to experience mild discomfort for the first one to three days after surgery. However, over the next several months, you may also notice that you:

  • May still need glasses for optimal vision
  • Have a mild, permanent glare in your field of vision
  • Experience cloudy vision
  • See halos around images
  • Experience light sensitivity
  • Have some irritation
  • Experience unstable vision at times
  • Have dry eyes

Are There Any Complications after PRK Surgery?

Although the majority of patients heal well from PRK surgery, there is always a risk of complications. Some risks include:

  • Regression: During the healing period, cells could regenerate that would reverse the correction gained from PRK surgery. If this occurs, a prescription medication like Mitomycin C can reduce the risk of vision regression.
  • Loss of Clarity: After PRK surgery, there is a chance that you will not regain the same clarity you experienced with contacts or glasses.
  • Undercorrection or Overcorrection: In the event that too much or too little corneal tissue was removed during your PRK surgery, you may experience less-than-optimal vision. This condition can typically be corrected though the use of eyewear.
  • Astigmatism: Corneal asymmetry, or astigmatism, can occur if the eyes heal improperly. This condition can also be a result of an error in modification during surgery.
  • Corneal Ulcers: A rare occurrence, corneal ulcers can develop following PRK surgery. Antibiotics can be used to reduce this risk.
  • Increased Intraocular Pressure: Referred to as IOP, increased intraocular pressure can be a risk of PRK surgery. If IOP is not addressed or controlled, it can lead to optic nerve damage, resulting in partial or total vision loss. Permanent vision loss is extremely rare.

Considerations for the Long-term

Most side effects only last for a few months during recovery. However, it must be noted that the major long-term risk after PRK is that you will experience regression. While most patients do not regress back to their original prescription, some will need touch-up surgery to maintain their vision.

According to the Federal Drug Administration, approximately five percent of patients will need corrective eyewear following their PRK surgery. It should also be noted that patients over the age of 40 develop presbyopia. This condition is normal with aging, but requires glasses while reading.

Reduce Your Chance of Complications

When undergoing PRK surgery, you will be given a detailed list of post-operative instructions. It is imperative that you follow the guidelines as precisely as possible. By doing so, you will be giving yourself the best chance of a speedy and successful recovery.

Learn More about PRK Surgery

If you want to improve your vision without the use of eyeglasses or contacts, PRK could be a solution for you. To learn more about the procedure, your candidacy, and the side effects of treatment, schedule a consultation with Dr. Gordon. You can call our office at (845) 364-9767, or contact us online anytime.