Monday, July 27, 2009

PRK - Week 3 quick update....

Reponding to a comment left re. last post.

It took me years, literally, to even wrap my head around the whole idea of laser eye surgery. The whole fear of being in that miniscule number of people who had adverse outcomes..something I could overcome for a very long time. I don't really know what it was that finally changed my mind. I guess I figured that it wouldn't hurt to just get a consultation to see if I was even a candidate and then I could go from there.

I got an appointment with one of the laser eye centers locally. This was a couple of years ago. Basically they told me that I was not a candidate for LASIK because my corneas were too thin. Instead, they suggested that perhaps I consider lens implants. OK....if I wasn't quite on board with laser eye surgery I certainly wasn't on board with lens implants!! Funny....I remember being totally disappointed that the consultation turned out that way. I guess since I'd finally bitten the bullet and committed to the whole idea I was ready to go!!

So...put that idea on the backburner for a couple of years. Fast forward to this year. After thinking about it I realized that lens implants were probably not that bad....I mean, people get cataract surgery every day and it's an outpatient procedure, right?? Made an appointment with one of the top names in our area and was all set to get a consult for lens implants.

Long story short....even through I wasn't a candidate for LASIK, I was a candidate for PRK. I took about 3 weeks to think about it then just decided that it was now or never. Fortunately so far I fall to the "successful procedure" category. Of course, who knows what will happen down the road. Will there be regression? How long will it take for my vision to stabilize? All I know is that I can see - see better than I can remember - even when I'm having my blurry eye days.

I'm at the start of week post-op week 3 and most days are clear eye days. There are occasional blurry moments - washed away with my endless supply of lubricating eye drops! I fully recognize that it will probably be months before my eyesight fully stabilizes but I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the results so far. My prednisone taper starts today. I'm down to 3 drops per eye per day. At this rate I'm looking at completing my taper sometime in September. Aside from that I'm not on anything else and I figure putting in eyedrops 3 times a day is hardly a chore if the end result is perfectly clear vision.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My PRK surgery - Weeks 1-3

Image by Nicole Johnson (Bivoir)
I wanted to blog about this as a way to keep track of my progress and to share my experiences with laser eye surgery with others out there. I'm about 3 weeks out now and if I could have blogged in actual time I would have but unfortunately that was not the case :)

After an extensive consultation my doc advised that I would not be a good candidate for LASIK but rather PRK. The reason for this is that my corneas were too thin to make the corneal flap required for LASIK. In my case, the corneal epithelium would be removed, the laser part would remain the same, and after that the epithelial cells would have to grow back. I was told that recovery would take longer and that I would most likely experience more discomfort than if I got LASIK. OK....after thinking it over....I was still committed to having it done. I got both eyes done at the same time.

I had my surgery on July 7th. I was premedicated for the procedure with some Valium. Eye prep was done and then I rested in a darkened room for a while before they took me to the OR. In the OR I lay on the table where they positioned the equipment over my face. I remember lots of very bright lights. The first part of the procedure involved removing the corneal surface cells. I don't know what the exact steps involved were but I do know that at one point they applied pressure to my eye and everything went dark for about 40 seconds. I could hear the nurse counting down. Then, vision reappeared and the doc did a lot os sweeping and flushing of my eye. After that prep was complete I was told to focus on the green lights flashing overhead. The laser fired up. I could smell it. I think that freaked me out more than anything else. It took about 30 seconds and it was over. My eye was flushed out with cold solution and all of a sudden I could see with perfect clarity. Same procedure to second eye. Bandage contacts were applied and I was good to go. I think I was in the OR for a total of maybe 20mins. Actual operating time maybe 10 mins.

Kev drove me home (no driving after taking Valium) and I basically kept my eyes closed the whole time even though I was wearing the ever so stylish huge wraparound sunglasses :) Didn't do much for the rest of the day but rest. Had moments of clear vision that was encouraging. I'm convinced I made the right decision.

Went back the next day for a quick followup. Was reading 20/30 or so. I'm thinking this is totally the reason why I finally decided to do this. For the rest of the week I'm diligent with my eyedrops just waiting for the bandage contacts to be removed. I remember I felt like i had to use tons and tons of hydrating drops. Towards the end of the week I was able to finally focus on things closeup. With my pupils being hugely dilated I really couldn't do that earlier in the week.

Monday the 13th I had my second followup. This time my vision sucked and I could barely read the eyechart. I remember feeling totally disheartened although the folks assured me this was normal and that I could expect my vision to get worse after removal of the bandage lenses before they would get better. I went home after the visit and I felt like I was back to day 1 all over again.

Went back to work on the 16th. Although my global vision was fine I was definitely experiencing blurred vision and had a terrible time working on the computer. Don't know how I made it through that day. Same thing the next day.

I'm now at the end of week 3. I'm still using Prednisone eye drops 4 times a day. Will be starting to taper next week but it only drops 1 drop every 2 weeks so I'll be on for another month or so. I have my 1 month followup on August 3rd. My vision, when it is clear, is amazing and gives me hope for when it finally stabilizes. I've been told that this could take several months. I'm getting to the point where I have more moments of clarity than blurriness. My eyes get fatigued pretty easily. I'm just trying to take things easy and not doing eye-intensive stuff (like staring at the computer screen too much!!!). I don't have to use the lubricating drops as much these days.

Best moments?? Waking up on the day after the surgery and being able to see the numbers on the clock on my bedside table! Watching TV the other day and realizing that I could clearly read the ticker scrolling across the bottom of the screen!!

All in all it was totally worth it to me. I sometimes get frustrated with the fluctuating vision but I was told to expect this. I guess I just didn't realize how much it was going to fluctuated. Still, I know the end result will be worth it. Would I recommend it? Definitely!! Just make sure to pick a reputable facility and get recommendations on the doctor. I wouldn't shop around for a bargain with this particular procedure :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's been a while....

Goodness....I didn't even realize it had been close to a month since I last updated. There's been a ton of stuff that's taken place since I last wrote I don't really even know where to start.

Let's see....well, the situation at work never really got fully resolved but I've managed to wrap my brain around things and have come up with a game plan that will work for me. I'm still waiting to find out whether or not I got an interview for the grad program I applied to. I hope to find something out in the next couple of weeks!! Once that's done I'll have a better idea of what the next step of my plan will be.

Other than that I've spent quite a bit of time getting to know my torch again. I've made a ton of beads and been working on getting my website updated. I'd love it if you'd take a gander over there and let me know what you think of the small updates (a little shopping wouldn't be bad either!) :)

The biggest news is that I finally bit the bullet and got laser eye surgery done. I was all psyched to get it done in early June but couldn't get a date that would work with my work schedule so I worked my July schedule around my surgery date and now that's come and gone. I underwent the laser this past Tuesday and am happy to report that recovery is going well. I think I was prepared for the recovery to be much more than what it turned out to be so overall I'm very happy with the way things are going. I had a follow-up on the day after the surgery and I think I was reading around 20/20 which is AMAZING considering that I could barely even make out the numbers on my bedside clock prior to the surgery!! Vision is still blurry due to the fact that my pupils are still grossly dilated. I expect for this to wear off in the next few days. I don't have as much light sensitivity as I did earlier on in the week so that's good. I can't wait for everything to stabilize and for the fuzziness to dissipate. I have to say that this is such a fantastic be able to see without contacts or glasses. I was scared spitless at the moment of the actual laser firing but am loving the results!!

Bad news is that DH is not feeling well so we're working on getting him better this weekend. Some IV antibiotics and a short stay at the hospital are going a long way to convincing him that it's not a good idea to just go on and off his maintenance meds as he feels fit. Yeah....I've spent more time trying to convince him of that but it takes something like this to really hammer it home. So....hopefully we'll be home by the start of the week and no surgical intervention will be required. We're the walking wounded....he was supposed to be taking care of me after my surgery but as it turns out I have to take care of him in my not fully recovered state. In sickness and in health......

Well that's all I've got for now. Hope to keep updating more often!