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 :)

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Glad it's working out for you. I don't think I could go through with this procedure (I need to have my eyes covered at work anyway!) but more power to you!