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What will my vision be like after photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)?

Initially, your vision is blurry following PRK. The healing process takes three to five days, during which time your vision will gradually improve, though it may take a month or longer to achieve your best vision. It is important that anyone considering PRK have realistic expectations. PRK allows people to perform most of their everyday tasks without corrective lenses. However, people looking for perfect vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses run the risk of being disappointed.

Recent studies show that over 90 percent of people who have PRK achieve 20/40 vision or better without eyeglasses or contact lenses. If the procedure results in an undercorrection or overcorrection, your surgeon may decide to perform a second surgery, called an enhancement, to further refine the result.

PRK cannot correct presbyopia, the age-related loss of close-up focusing power. Almost everyone will need reading glasses by the time they reach the age of 40 or 50, including those who have had PRK.

Some people choose a vision correction method called monovision, which leaves one eye slightly nearsighted. The nearsighted eye is used for close work, while the other eye is adjusted for distance vision. Although monovision is acceptable for most people, some may not be comfortable with this correction. To determine your individual needs and your ability to adapt to this correction, you may wish to try monovision with contact lenses before surgery.

If 20/20 vision is essential for your job or leisure activities, consider whether 20/40 vision would be good enough for you. You should be comfortable with the possibility that you may need a second surgery or that you might need to wear eyeglasses for certain activities, such as reading or driving at night.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.