ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:1. Is there definitive reason to believe the eye heals properly; or, is it rather the brain that "fixes" the double image? I tend to assume the latter, which really isn't a happy-maker.
For most people, after 3-6 months the cornea has recovered from the surgery. Additional improvement will be from the brain's ability to ignore bad information and a small amount may be from continued healing refinement.
The brain is amazing at analysis of visual information to create the best vision possible. You have a huge blind spot in your field of vision caused by the entry of the optic nerve to the retina, yet you never see it. That is the brain at work.
To get a bit more esoteric, the eyes do not see in three dimensions. Each eye is able to see only in two dimensions. The brain takes the two dimension images from the two eyes and calculates the third dimension by analysis of the differences between the images from the two eyes.
Draw a square block on a piece of paper. It looks three dimensional, but you know that it is not because it is drawn on a two dimensional surface. That is pretty much how three dimensional vision works. The brain fools you into believing you are seeing three dimensions while using only two dimensional images. In a very real sense, only the mind’s eye sees three dimensions.
ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:2. Since it's somewhat annoying and distracting from work, is there anything that can be done in the mean time that mitigate the poor vision caused by double image? E.g., temporary lens, patch, "pinhole glasses"/partial-blinders? Does it retard the goal?
Temporary glasses or disposable contact lenses are an excellent way to deal with refractive errors as the eye heals or until the patient decides to have additional surgery. Double images in one eye is almost always astigmatism and this is relatively easy to resolve with lenses. Your vision at work can be about as good as your vision in the doctor's office looking through the phoropter (funny lens machine against your face).
ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:3. Is there anything one can do to aid the healing process?
The eye likes moisture. Preservative-free eye drops are often very good. Adjusting the room's humidity is often helpful because air conditioning in summer and heating in winter tend to dry out the air. Close your eyes for a full 30 seconds about twice an hour. This helps lubricate and clean. A healthy eye gets enough oxygen without hitting the bars and hyperbaric exposure may dry/shrink the cornea. Eye exercises may have a great placebo effect, but you are not going to learn to "focus around" astigmatism.
What is probably the best, and most simple, workaround for astigmatism is a lot of light. That makes the pupil small and often improves vision by reducing the amount of light passing through the irregular part of the cornea. You also get some advantage of the pinhole effect.
ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:For grins, here's my situation: I am also experiencing double vision in my right eye, I'm only a few days out, no reason to sound alarms -- but it's significant enough (far more than what's in the left), that intuition would tell me this is not going to go away anytime soon. I see from the above post, this is probably confirmed.
An actual measurement of the amount of astigmatism would indicate how much you can expect to resolve. Just look at a current eyeglass prescription. If you are a few days out after PRK, you should be delighted that you can see with any clarity. Normally PRK provides only "functional fuzzy" vision for the first several days. Your epithelium has covered the treatment area, but would not have thickened and has certainly not smoothed.
ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:My dad, of unrelated medical degree, suggested that "pinhole" test would measure my vision of purely parallel light and thus measure what my script is void of other effects. He suggests this would give an indication of the inflammation that's present, and help me comprehend that there is healing still occurring.
Smart dad. Boggle him with the third dimension.
ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:But my problem with this is that inflammation itself does not seem to be necessary and sufficient for the double, and it seems a secondary factor.
Astigmatism occurs naturally and is commonly corrected with glasses or contacts. Inflammation is not necessary for astigmatism to be present, but inflammation will present astigmatism almost every time.
ArlingtonNewEyes wrote:The OP's situation lends evidence to this because, assuming inflammation 3 weeks out is gone, then only scarring/healing and shape are remaining factors.
Inflammation and other surface issues can be gone in three weeks with Lasik, but don't expect that kind of recovery speed with PRK. It is an entirely different process.