For those with contacts or glasses, exercise can sometimes prove to be a hassle. Intense physical activity can either cause eye irritation in contact lens wearers or can result in broken glasses. For those who would like to correct their vision permanently, a surgery called photorefractive keratectomy, PRK ,may be an option, according to Mayo Clinic. PRK improves your vision and eliminates your need for corrective lenses. It is important to understand the healing process and refrain from exercise until cleared by a physician.
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Photorefractive keratectomy is a 10-minute surgical procedure performed by doctors specially trained in eye surgery. The goal of PRK is to eliminate the need for contact lenses or glasses. It involves the use of a laser to reshape your cornea, which is the transparent lens that covers your eye. The laser works to correct refractive errors, which enables clear vision, according to Mayo Clinic. Reshaping the cornea creates a permanent change in your vision. Unlike many laser eye surgeries, PRK only focuses on repairing the cornea and does not affect the surrounding tissue.
You can return to normal activities within days of surgery. The Turner Eye Institute indicates that full recovery for PRK surgery can take anywhere from six to 12 months. Recovery time depends largely on your ability to heal, taking your medications regularly, and following up with your surgeon. Immediately following surgery, you will notice blurry vision. During the first week, you will begin to notice changes in your vision and should be able to engage in normal activity. Over the next couple of months, your vision will begin to improve and you will be required to continue with medications. By the 12-month mark, your vision should stabilize and require little care.
As your eyes repair themselves after surgery, you will be fitted with protective contact lenses that will act as a bandage for your eyes, according to MayoClinic.com. These lenses will remain in place for two to five days. Your vision will be blurry for a couple of weeks. During this time, you should avoid strenuous exercise. Non-contact sports can be resumed as soon as you feel you are ready. Rough sports, including football or hockey, should be avoided. It is also recommended that you avoid activities that require strong hand-eye coordination, such as tennis or racquetball. You should also avoid swimming for the first week after surgery. Swimming pool swimming can be resumed after one week. You should avoid swimming in rivers, oceans and lakes for at least two weeks. Always consult your doctor before beginning exercise after PRK.
Blurry vision, dry eyes, haze, night glare, infection and over- or undercorrection are possible complications of PRK, according to the Turner Eye Institute. If you experience bleeding or excessive pressure, contact your doctor immediately. It is important to follow your post-operative instructions. Avoid exercise until directed to do so. If you do engage in contact sports or swim, contact your doctor to avoid further complications.