My PRK story

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My PRK story

Postby MamaBean » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:19 am

I had custom PRK October 18. I've found reading about other people's experiences to be helpful, so I thought I'd share my story as well.

Pre-PRK - During the pre-op evaluation it was discovered that I had sub-clinical EBMD (no symptoms), although they didn't exactly say it like that until I asked later. During a test where something that resembled a Q-tip was pressed again my eye some of the epithelium sloughed. I was just told that I "sloughed" and that this would put me at a higher risk for flap complications. Okay, so PRK it is, I wasn't crazy about the idea of a flap anyway. As for my numbers, my right eye was -3.5 and my left was -3.25 - I also had some astigmatism, but I don't remember those numbers. The start of a little presbyopia as well, as I am 44, but not too bad yet.

Procedure Day - I was offered Xan*x, which I accepted. Numbing drops were applied several times and I was handed a teddy bear. This felt odd, but it gave my hands something to do. A tech put tape over my left eye. More numbing drops went in my right eye. Then the doctor put a piece of tape over my lower eyelid and then my upper eyelid. It crossed my mind that my eyelashes might come off later with the tape. Then the dreaded speculum to hold my eye open, but to my relief, it was no big deal at all. To remove the epithelium, the doctor used a mechanical brush. I felt no pain at all, maybe just a little pressure. Then a little spatula was used to clean up the area. Then the laser was applied, 30 seconds for my right eye, and then later, 23 seconds for my left. More swabbing and the sensation of something cold on my eye. Then it was done and only a few minutes had passed! I couldn't believe how easy it was. Then the same steps were repeated for my left eye. I sat in a "recovery" chair for a little while, then my eyes were checked and I was sent home. At this point, I could already see things in the distance more clearly, but I did have quite a bit of blurriness.

My meds: Flarex 4x/day, Vigamox 4x/day, Xibrom 2x a day until banadage contacts removed, Neurontin for pain 3x/day, Systane, 1000 mg of Vit C daily. Also numbing drops which I was instructed to only use in case of extreme pain, because they can interfere with healing. Right away I made up my mind not to use them at all.

Post PRK days 1 and 2 - These two days were the most uncomfortable. I wouldn't exactly say I was in pain, though. My eyes felt very irritated, and extremely sensitive to light, with a slight burning feeling. I wore sunglasses in the house and kept my eyes closed most of the time. I never felt the need to use the numbing drops.

Post Day 3 - I finally started feeling better. I was able to keep my eyes open. Vision wasn't too bad, I was able to see well enough to watch TV for brief periods.

Post Day 4 - The doctor removed the bandage contacts. Before taking them out, they tested my vision with the chart. I was able to read the 20/20 line, but it was a little difficult because the letters kept going in and out of focus. However, immediately after the contacts were removed, my vision regressed, blurry with ghosting. And I felt like my eyes were very irritated, with grit in them. I didn't realize until then how much the contacts were protecting the healing epithelium.

Post Day 6 - Right eye wasn't too bad. Left eye was much worse, with significant ghosting and blurriness. Still, I returned to work, having already taken 4 days off and I needed to get back.

Post Day 9 - My left eye is still much worse than my right, but in the morning just after I get up, it is clear for a few minutes. I'm hoping that this is an indicator of what I will eventually get. Later in the day, I went to a shopping mall and my right eye started to get blurry as well. I think my eyes were getting dry. I noticed I could really feel the air hitting my eyes as I walked around.

2 weeks - At the doctor's office, my right eye was able to read the 20/20 line, but the left eye was lagging far behind. The doctor didn't want to say how bad it was, perhaps so I wouldn't get discouraged. When both my eyes are open, it's like there's a blurry veil over the left.

3 weeks - This was the turning point. I noticed at work for the first time, the ghosting wasn't as bad in my left eye. The ghost image was closer to the original image.

3 1/2 weeks - For the first time at the mall, my eyes didn't dry out and blur. I could see clearly. As a matter of fact, my eyes are not as dry overall as before, except for in the morning when I first get up. My left eye is still not as crisp as the right, but it's getting very close. With both eyes open, I can't even tell my left is different, I believe I'm seeing 20/20 with both eyes, but I haven't verified this with the doctor's eye chart yet. At night, there are some halos, but not too bad. I only notice them on some lights, like traffic lights when I'm about to pass under them. Watching TV is crisp and clear, and working on the computer now feels normal again. I am able to read normal size print in books and most magazines, but the tiny print on small bottles is difficult. I'll probably pick up some low power readers soon, just in case.

Tomorrow marks 1 month post-op, and I feel like my vision has improved tremendously. I see clearly! Dryness isn't much of a problem, except for the morning when I have to get those first drops in immediately upon waking up. Throughout the day, I only use them about 3-4 times. Night vision is very good, with only some minor halos, which seem to be improving slowly. All in all, I estimate I'm seeing 20/20, but I'll know for sure after I go back to the doctor's after Thanksgiving. At this point, I am very happy so far with the results.
MamaBean
 
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Postby houstonman » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:36 pm

wow... what a story. im going in tomorrow and this just makes me want to do it that much more. I could of done lasik but I decided to go with prk for numerous reasons.
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Postby LasikExpert » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:06 am

You PRK experience is so very, very helpful for others considering vision correction surgery. I am often complimented for my contributions to this forum, but this kind of chronical of an individual's experience is the most valuable information. Thank you very much for returning here and letting us know your story. Please return in a few weeks and keep us up to date.
Glenn Hagele
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USAEyes

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
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Postby MamaBean » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:59 pm

I just returned from my 1-month post-op checkup. Actually it's been a little over 5 weeks, but last week was Thanksgiving and I couldn't get an appointment.

I thought I was seeing 20/20, but to my surprise, when I read the eye chart in the doctor's office, I'm actually seeing 20/15! At this stage, I couldn't ask for better results - my vision is beautiful, crisp and clear, and the ghosting I had in the first few weeks has completely disappeared, just like the doctor predicted. I'm also happy to report that I have no dryness issues, either. At about the 1 month mark I only felt the need to put in drops just upon waking in the morning, and sometimes once in the evening. But as of this morning (5+ weeks), I actually forgot the morning drops because when I woke up my eyes felt completely normal. It wasn't until a couple of hours had passed that I realized that I didn't even use the drops. Even after sitting at the computer more than 8 hours, my eyes still don't feel dry at all, so I'm quite happy about that.

I do still have some mild haloes at night around the brightest lights, but if I'm not looking for it, I don't even notice. I'm not even sure if this was the way lights looked before the surgery. For a few weeks weeks post-op, the haloes and starbursts were much bigger, but then diminished slowly. I have absolutely no problem driving or getting around at night, and my contrast vision seems to be the same as before the surgery.

I have a couple more days of the steroid drops - just 1 drop a day - then I'm done. I'm told to continue the 1000 mg of vit C, at least for a couple more months.

My only regret is that I didn't have this surgery sooner!
MamaBean
 
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Postby houstonman » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:05 am

MamaBean wrote:I just returned from my 1-month post-op checkup. Actually it's been a little over 5 weeks, but last week was Thanksgiving and I couldn't get an appointment.

I thought I was seeing 20/20, but to my surprise, when I read the eye chart in the doctor's office, I'm actually seeing 20/15! At this stage, I couldn't ask for better results - my vision is beautiful, crisp and clear, and the ghosting I had in the first few weeks has completely disappeared, just like the doctor predicted. I'm also happy to report that I have no dryness issues, either. At about the 1 month mark I only felt the need to put in drops just upon waking in the morning, and sometimes once in the evening. But as of this morning (5+ weeks), I actually forgot the morning drops because when I woke up my eyes felt completely normal. It wasn't until a couple of hours had passed that I realized that I didn't even use the drops. Even after sitting at the computer more than 8 hours, my eyes still don't feel dry at all, so I'm quite happy about that.

I do still have some mild haloes at night around the brightest lights, but if I'm not looking for it, I don't even notice. I'm not even sure if this was the way lights looked before the surgery. For a few weeks weeks post-op, the haloes and starbursts were much bigger, but then diminished slowly. I have absolutely no problem driving or getting around at night, and my contrast vision seems to be the same as before the surgery.

I have a couple more days of the steroid drops - just 1 drop a day - then I'm done. I'm told to continue the 1000 mg of vit C, at least for a couple more months.

My only regret is that I didn't have this surgery sooner!


what is the vit c for? I dont have that drop? is it something I should ask about? I only have the steriod drops.
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Postby MamaBean » Tue Dec 11, 2007 4:21 am

houstonman wrote:what is the vit c for? I dont have that drop? is it something I should ask about? I only have the steriod drops.


Oops, sorry I didn't see your question sooner. The vitamin C (1000 mg) is not a drop, it's just over-the-counter, old-fashioned vitamin C. I like the chewable orange tablets. It's commonly prescribed to facilitate healing, although I don't know the specifics as to how and why it is beneficial.

I'm now at 7 1/2 weeks post-op. My vision has been crisp and clear since 1 month post-op. I don't use the lubricating drops anymore either, unless I have a day (like today) where I didn't get enough sleep the night before so my eyes were a little dry in the morning. But then, that happens without laser eye surgery. And even with lack-of-sleep tired eyes today, I still had perfectly clear vision!
MamaBean
 
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Six months since PRK

Postby MamaBean » Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:27 am

It's been six months since I got my custom PRK so I'm here writing an update to my saga. My vision has pretty much settled now. I have consistent 20/20 vision, although at the doctor's office, I was able to read the 20/15 line, although it took a couple of seconds longer.

I wear reading glasses on occasion, which is to be expected as I am 44. It takes getting used to, not being able to see clearly close up. This isn't usually much of a problem as I keep a pair of glasses at work and at home. Sometimes, I'll get a little frustrated trying to read tiny print on the back of bottles and boxes at the grocery store because I don't usually carry around my glasses. My cell phone, iPod, and Nintendo DS are are a little difficult to read - these tiny devices are made for young eyes. If the lighting is bright, and I'm not overly tired, I can read average size type (10 to 12 pt) at the office without too much effort. I actually rarely wear my glasses at work. I can work on the computer just fine, too, although if I'm tired and my eyes are a little dry I get a little bit of blurriness, mainly from my right eye.

Before the surgery, the vision in my right eye was a little worse than my left. I called it my "weaker" eye. Now, my right eye is still weaker than my left, although I can only see this difference in near range. For distance, both eyes seem to be equal. The doc didn't seem to be surprised at this, although I thought that post-surgery my eyes would be exactly equal for both distance and near.

My distance vision is sharp, with no ghosting whatsover. It's wonderful to see individual leaves in the distant trees, or to be able to read license plates and street signs. My night vision is also good and I have no problems driving at night. I don't have problems with halos or starbursts.

Dryness isn't an issue as long as I get enough sleep. Lack of sleep now affects my eyes more than before the surgery. If I haven't gotten enough sleep, I have to use eye drops. If my eyes do get dry, the right eye near-vision blurriness becomes more apparent.

Overall, I'm quite happy with my results. Although I wear reading glasses occasionally, and understand I will rely on them more and more the older I get, I absolutely love not having to wear glasses all the time.
MamaBean
 
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