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 Michigan Health.
PRK improves your vision and eliminates your need for corrective lenses. It is important to understand the healing process and avoid strenuous exercise after PRK until cleared by a physician.
What Is PRK?
The Cleveland Clinic notes that photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a laser 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. 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.
Recovery After PRK
After PRK surgery, restrictions will be placed on your activity level. You can return to normal activities within days of surgery, but your eyes won't be fully healed for two to three months, reports the Mayo Clinic. Recovery time depends largely on your ability to heal, taking your medications regularly, and following up with your surgeon.
You will initially have blurry vision after PRK. 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.
Strenuous Exercise After PRK
As your eyes repair themselves after surgery, you will be fitted with protective contact lenses that will act as a bandage for your eyes. These lenses will remain in place for two to five days. Your vision will be blurry for a couple of weeks — you should avoid strenuous exercise after PRK for safety and to help prevent complications.
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 after PRK for the first week. Pool swimming can be resumed after one week, but you should avoid swimming in rivers, oceans and lakes for at least two weeks. Always consult your doctor before beginning exercise after PRK.
Complications of PRK
Blurry vision, dry eyes, haze, night glare, infection and over- or undercorrection are possible complications of PRK. If you experience bleeding or excessive pressure, contact your doctor immediately. It is important to follow your post-operative instructions and monitor for signs of infection after PRK.