PRK Experience Dec 2007

Surgery Performed on 12/13/2007

Prescription: 5.5 right eye, 5.25 left eye

Vision: approx 20/400 (legally blind is 20/200). Yes, extremely nearsighted.

Contacts Worn for 15 years 12-20 hours /day.

Severe case of EKC contracted in 2002 and “treated” with steroid drops.

11/19–stopped wearing contacts and eye makeup. Began taking Thera Tears and Flax Oil capsules daily (plus multivitamin and iron pill).

12/22–began Vigamox drops (4x/day in both eyes)

Day 1–Day of Surgery–I was completely unprepared for how terrified I was during the surgery. I Wasn’t nervous going in and had done TONS of research on PRK vs. LASIK and LASEK and had decided I didn’t want a corneal flap, even though my corneal thickness was OK (560 microns) for LASIK. The doctor gave me Ativan, and I started feeling very tired after about 15 minutes.

The surgeon and techs were all extremely nice, efficient, and kind. They even let the Wunderhusband watch, just a few feet away from me.

I sat in the chair, they tilted it back, then numbed my left eye twice. They gave me a teddy bear to squeeze (very helpful), then inserted these metal eye spreader/opener devices (it looks like something from a torture scene or sci fi movie). Then, the doctor used a small round device to press down into my eye to make a well for the 20% alcohol solution they were using to remove the epithelium. I knew this was what he was doing, so I was kinda freaked and inadvertently tried to squeeze my eye closed. He stopped and said “NO, no, no…you must hold still. If you squeeze, you can hurt your eye.” The other tech reminded me to take “long, slow breaths,” so I did my best to focus on keeping my eye still and unsqueezed, and breathing slowly. It helped. Then, they timed the # of secs for the alcohol to be on–twenty–I think, and then irrigated my eye thoroughly with cold saline. This actually was quite startling to feel the cold liquid on the edges of my eye lids. Then, they told me to look up at the red blinking light, then the laser turned on and did its thing. That was weird b/c I felt my nothing but smelled my eye tissue burning! The scariest thing was to know that I couldn’t look away or close my eye and had to watch them put things into my eye. eeep.

Next, they irrigated the eye again, then put some sort of opaque lens on my eye for several timed seconds, then removed it. I think that was the applicaiton of the Mytomyecin C. Then, they put a bandage contact on, and did the same thing fo the Right eye. I DID feel more with the Right eye, and they warned me that this might happen. I actually felt a tingling with th e laser part of the procedure. That was odd, but not painful.

Immediately after, I coud see quite a bit, then just 30 mins later, when the numbing drops wore off, my eyes burned and itched and just gushed tears. I Was happy to see lots of moisture, but it made my nose run, and was very uncomfortable. I took a Vicadin and put in all my drops, then just went to bed (after taping on my “bug eyes” aka clear plastic shields to keep me from rubbing my eyes in my sleep) .

I jolted awake at 4 AM when the Vicadin had worn off. My eyes were burning and dry, so I put lots of moisturizing drops in them, and took 4 ibuprofen. Also drank lots of water.

Surgery + 1
Had my follow up visit. The surgeon said everything looks great–no signs of infection or anything out of the ordinary. My vision is 20/30…WOW (I was 20/400) but I am to expect that this will decrease and then return later, as the epithelium grow back over my pupil. My next visit if on Monday to see if the epithelium has grown back completely. I have been very tired all day as it is uncomfortable to keep my eyes open for more than a few minutes. I’m typing with my eyes closed right now. Still, I’ve only needed ibuprofen for the pain and haven’t touched the Tetracaine drops that they gave me. Apparently those are bad and are only for agonizing pain b/c the drops lsow or halt the healing process. Yipes!

I can still see amazingly well, though with the bandage contacts in, it just feels like I’m wearing contacts and can see like I have for the past 15 years…I haven’t gotten the full effect of “wow…my eyes are fixed now!”Am putting in the following drops 4x/day:

Vigamox

Flarex (steroid)

& Acular (like Motrin for the eyes)

Plus, of course, moisturizing drops –am using Thera Tears liquid gel with NO PRESERVATIVES….apparently this is important so that my bandage contacts get the least amt of build up possible.

Surgery +2
OMG….PURE AGONY. I’m typing this after the fact. I was curled up in a ball with as much between my eyes and any light source as possible–pillows, masks, etc. Took 5 Vicadin over the course of the day just trying to sleep…the feeling was like someone poured salt and sand into my eyes….just horrifying painful. At one point, I thought I had an ulcer in my left eye b/c we saw a whitish smudge. I called the office freaking out, and the assistant (who’s been caling me twice a day to see how I’m doing) actually arranged for the surgeon to come in ON A SATURDAY when the office is closed to look at my eye. He checked and said it was just a clump of dead epithelial cells….everything looks great, it’s normal to have lots of pain at this stage, and I’d be better after they took the contacts off (2 more days!!).

It’s really hard to put the pain into words–it was like a toothache…affecting a small part of the body but terribly debilitating and distracting.

Surgery + 3
Feeling better. The contacts have been in 4 days now, so they’re horribly uncomfortable, but I’m able to see fairly well. I slept most of the day, then went to a Christmas party with the Wunderhusband. I had to wear my dark “CIA Agent” glasses b/c I was so light sensitive, but other than that, I was fine! We just joked that I was his bodyguard.

Surgery + 4
GOT THE DARN CONTACTS OUT. Oh wow…he took them off with a pair of tweezers…pretty amazing. It felt weird to have them peeled off, but felt oh so good for my eyes to be able to breathe. I felt so great and could see so well that I made 75 from-scratch, gourmet caramel apples with the wunderhusband and family. We even packaged them all. My eyes weren’t red or anything.

No Halos, no starbursts, no ghosting, and no pain. WOW. Also, no blurriness. My vision vacillates between 20/30 and 20/40. I’m shocked and pleased. From what I Read on all the PRK forums online, I was expecting to have a horrible time.

Surgery + 5
We drove around delivering caramel apples today. Vision seems even more stable. I will try driving on my own tomorrow to deliver the rest of the apples! :) Have not tried intensive reading yet (for hours at a time), and am noticing that I may need to pick up some reading glasses (very low strength) for close up computer or reading work. Not sure yet….Am still thrilled with results.

Am still putting in Vigamox and Flarex 4x/day.

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1 Comment

Filed under PRK/Laser Eye Surgery Experience

One response to “PRK Experience Dec 2007

  1. Oh wow, my eyes were watering SO badly by the end of this post! I am so glad I had major eye surgery way back when I was 4 years old… I barely remember it. Thank goodness!

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