PRK 'wavefront' allegretto 2/21

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PRK 'wavefront' allegretto 2/21

Postby prkandidate » Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:54 pm

Day Zero was uneventful. Eyes swabbed with iodine, festooned with booties and cap and given a valium. Lay back on this table, numbing drops applied. Couldn't really tell the eyes were clamped open. The clamps were either plastic or heated and were almost a pleasant sensation. 'Blinking' while clamped open was not painful and was as satisfying as if it had been successful. A circular device a little like a wand found in a child's jar of bubbles and something not unlike an artist's palette knife in appearance were used to remove the epithelium. "Mmm, that stings a bit," I said when they started on my left eye. The surgeon repeated, "That stings a bit? Okay" amd continued with whatever he was doing. I guessed that if there was really a problem I would be feeling more than a mild discomfort, which is why the surgeon did not alter his procedure or bother to reassure me that a little stinging was possible. It was more pleasant than pondering the possibility that the guy about to burn off the fronts of my eyes was an asshole.

Stare at the blinking green light for 10 seconds in my right eye and 11 in my left while the surgeon held my head steady. Drops and bandage contacts applied after each eye, then shoo me out and past the next waiting victim.

The doctor (not the surgeon) did a quick check of the eyes and handed me a scrip for meperidine (Demerol). He had already prescribed Lortab and explained that he wasn't licensed for Demerol, but that this prescription was from the surgeon, who was. I got the impression he felt the meperidine was overkill and that he didn't approve of the surgeon prescribing it.

It was amusing then, when in the waiting room I was waiting for my ride he came out and nervously asked me if I had brought my pills with me. "No," I said, "Just the Valium." He repeated, "You didn't bring the Lortab?" I said no again, and he asked me if I wanted to take the other valium. "The anesthetic drops will be wearing off soon," he said. I declined. I'm not sure if he was afraid I would make a scene scaring off the next patients in line or whether I had somehow given him some reason to believe I was in or would be in great pain.

My ride arrived, a coworker who was surprised that he wasn't going to have to lead me by the arm to the car. In fact, my vision was slightly better than without glasses (which was only about -2.0). I would not have had any trouble driving myslef home, though I'm not sure about the legality, and I'm glad I didn't *have* to rely on it.

I went home, put on my eyeshield, got in bed and listened to an audiobook with my eyes closed. Later I got up, checked the st0ck market and some forums to see if the big crash had come yet (this is the reason I decided to have eye surgery. I don't want to have to worry about glasses or contacts while living under a bridge or in a Hooverville in the coming depression). I heated some leftover turkey and rice, and called my mother to let her know I was okay, and see if she had moved her retirement investment to a safer position like I had strongly suggested.
Then, I went back to bed to finish the audiobook (the second half of which was trippy and confusing because of the lortab) and go to sleep.

Day One I opened my eyes at 9:30 before I remembered all the people who had written about being unable to open their eyes. I noticed no "grit" or anything more unpleasant than if I had accidentally slept in my prescription contacts, though my vision was not the greatest. I could tell though when my eyes tears or I added drops, that my vision would be sharp once things healed up. I had breakfast, took a lortab and went back to sleep snuggled in the warm loving caress of my opiate blanket until 2:30, which is much more like my normal waking hour than 9:30 is. I drove to the ph4rmacy to fill my meperidine prescription. I don't think I'll need it, but I tell myself that it will be a good addition to the first aid kit.

Vision comes and goes, as does the pain. I still have felt nothing I would say feels like "something in my eye". This is fortunate because I think I would find that sensation far more irritating. What I am noting is a stinging or burning sensation. Initally closing my eyes intensifies the pain, but it quickly dissipates and then I can open them again and they feel fine for a short while. The weather has been overcast since the surgery, and I don't notice that I am particularly light sensitive. I do a fair amount of talking on the phone, read as much as I can on the computer, and even strat to try to read a book, though that proves to be a little painful. My eyes are watering enough to cause a stuffy nose by bedtime, so I use some lubricating drops before bed. I am very optimistic and pleased with the procedure,

Day Two arrives at 7:30 AM with me waking to my protective goggles removed and my face buried in the crook of my right arm, tears streaming down my cheeks. I have a bowl of cereal, use my drops and pills, take a lortab and go back to bed. I awake in much better shape. My vision seems sharper, but doubled. I attribute this to regrowing epithelium. I am concerned about my left eye, which seems to be overcorrected. Hopefully it is just an artifact of the healing, or will regress over time. Thinking about negative outcomes reminds me of my research at this forum, so I decided I should post this long rambling thing. though all it boils down to is: "No problems yet".

Despite the pain being only about 3 or 4 out of 10, I do not think I would have done well with only OTC pain relievers. Apologize or any typos I didn't catch, I'm a hunt and peck typist and I'm seeing double. Only "unique" observation is that the pain is in the form of stinging or burning rather than foreign body sensation. This is a pleasant surprise. Eyes are burning right now, so back to the audiobooks and will update when bandage lenses come out (monday).

<update>
For the remainder of day 2, I was unable to look at the computer monitor or a book for more than a few seconds without causing eye pain and headache. Went to bed and..

Day 3 I woke up and saw my alarm clock :o Not perfect vision by any means, but totally pain free and good enough for me to feel that things are on the right track. My left eye seems clearer than my right, still. I spent the day reading an entire 392 page paperback novel (not the big print kind, either).

Day 4 was followup time at the eyedoc. On the way to the clinic, I could see far distant objects razor sharp if my eyes were teary enough. They were never clear - quality was poor like astigmatism or double imaging, but the edges were sharp, even if there were 2 or 3 of them ... Not happy with the vision I *have*, but optimistic for the future.

Technician checks me out at 20/20 left eye and 20/25 right eye. Definitely not what I would have called 20/20, but I guess the snellen doesn't lie.

Doc remarks that he is surprised that my vision is so good - but then gets cagey when I ask him if it is atypical ...

He removes my contacts, says things will probably get worse before they get better, and sends me on my way. Removing the contacts decreased visual acuity quite a bit and makes my right eye feel a little rough. I suspect it is healing a day behind my left. Still better than uncorrected without glasses. Doc says sometimes the new epithelial growth can slough off, so if I notice discomfort come in, otherwise see him in a week.

Day 5 I returned to work. When I woke, my right eye was in good shape - like my left eye yesterday before the contacts came out... but now my left eye is blurry. Both eyes sharpen up with drops added, but still not perfect. Time I guess to just let time do its thing.

<update2>
Day 10. Doc takes me off the vigamox, but continue on the pred forte. Left eye is 20/15, Right is barely 20/20. Right now, despite being a success, I'm not satisfied with the right eye. I can live with it, but it is definitely not as good as my prior BCV.

The edge sharpness in my right eye is great, but things are just a little fuzzy at medium ranges. Close up (under 20 ft)or far out (100 yds + .. effectively "infinity") It's not noticeable. My workplace has open spaces ranging from 40-80 feet though, and it drives me batty. I end up looking around, closing one eye then the other, or covering one eye at a time with my hand, sort of the same you keep picking at a scab.

Because it seems to fluctuate, I suspect it is surface dryness.

Interestingly, lubricant drops improve it, but not 100%. The pred forte, however, clears up the distortion, discounting the general milkiness it causes. I'm not sure if the particulate matter in the drops causes some sort of lens effect or what, but it does leave me hopeful that I might achieve 20/15 in this eye too with some more time to heal.

Next Appointment is 3 weeks.

<update3> Day 20. I kept waking with dry eyes, so I started using drops before bed and when I awoke. Made a small difference, but not much. I didn't consult my doctor, but based on people here I'd seen mention it, I picked up some refresh pm, which seems to be a really expensive way to purchase vaseline ... Started using it before bed a couple nights ago. Still need drops in the morning, but my eyes seem to be more comfortable during the following day. I don't know if its the new drops or time and the healing process, but all this morning, I could tell that my right eye (which had been drier than my left) was producing adequate tears again. Dried out by afternoon, but feels like progress.

<update4> Final Update Day 70 or so. Vision seems to have been very slowly improving over this time. Haven't used drops in a long time, and occasionally eyes get dry causing small blurriness - but not enough to bother me to put drops in. My left eye is razor sharp, my right eye is almost razor sharp. I would say my vision is at least as good as it was with contacts.

Night vision - Night vision is fine, I do see a faint halo around bright light sources (like HID lights), but it's definitely no worse than the glare that one gets from wearing glasses. I suspect it will get better with time, and if not, no big deal.

Here's the odd thing. I printed out a snellan chart from the web following the instructions, and am almost 20/15 left eye and almost 20/20 right eye. The left eye is clearly sharp at the limit of resolution, whereas the right eye seems just a hair underpowered (focus limit, not resolution limit).

On the office chart, I am solidly 20/15 in my right eye, and even more so in my left (they only displayed the chart to 20/15). Right eye is 0, Left eye is +.25

If I had to guess, I would think that the right eye had some abberation from eye movement with the laser. They did the right eye first, and I didn't feel like I stayed focused on the light as well I should have. I was extra careful to stay fixed on the left eye.

Truthfully, I didn't mention this in the initial report, because I was genuinely concerned about a negative outcome and didn't want to document anything that would suggest I might have shared any responsibility for the outcome. Yes, even as well as my procedure went, that is the sort of psychology you will be dealing with for the first couple days while the eyes are healing, even in a best case scenario.

Personally, I think it was the valium (which I have never taken before). When I am sober, I can be very still. I don't even shift in my seat when I watch movies at the theater. The valium affected my ability to concentrate and it was a lot harder to keep my eyes fixed. It was noticeable to me enough that I asked the doctor "did I do okay?" when he finished with the right eye (he said yes). I had no concerns about the left eye.

Anyway.

The doctor said my eyes were healed so well it was tough to tell I had surgery. Seemed surprised at the positive outcome which he has done every time I have seen him, wth.

Said I could come back in 6 months if I felt like it, or just go to my regular eye doctor once a year.

Overall I'm quite happy that I had the procedure done. I would do it again myself, but I wouldn't be one of those people gushing, "Oh! You simply have to have it done!" I would tell them my experience and suggest they do some reading at usaeyes.org and come to their own decision :)
prkandidate
 
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