So last week I shared a little about my PRK eye surgery and how I was dealing with it all. I have wanted to write more about my experience for a couple of reasons. First of all when I first considered the surgery I did lots of research and the personal stories were all several years old so this hopefully will be a more current experience to share, and second really just for my memory of everything that has gone on thus far. I realize this isn’t my “typical” post…so I hope you stick around until I am done with these updates! 🙂 If this is a surgery you are considering and have more questions please leave me a comment or email me and we can connect!
I had my surgery done at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls. I can’t speak for other centers because I haven’t been there, but I can say that Vance Thompson is a doctor who has preformed over 50,000 surgeries. He has been doing these surgeries since they first started and has been a leader in research in the field. He may not have been the cheapest in the area, but with his experience and the most up-to-date equipment available, I felt that paying a little more for the expert in the field was well worth it.
Once I decided that I was going forward with the surgery I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything possible to help this be a successful experience. (And just for the record I am NOT a medical professional, although I have successfully diagnosed several diseases/conditions with the help of Google, this is MY experience only so that is what I am sharing) 😉
I read that taking supplements prior to and after the surgery could help healing time so about a month before the surgery I started taking Omega 3 Fish Oils and Vitamin C. I am still taking them and for the small cost (less than $10 a month) I figure it is worth it. I also stopped wearing eye makeup completely for about 2 weeks prior, I wasn’t told to do this but I didn’t want any risk of infection and you just never know with mascara and eye liner what might irritate your eye!
The day of the surgery I was initially feeling pretty calm. I had prepared myself for what I thought might be the “worst case scenario” and yet felt that this was something that I was supposed to do. I was ready.
Once checked in, they brought me back to a room where I was given a Valium (which I gladly took because I was starting to feel nervous!!) and they gave me some different drops for my eyes. Antibiotic drops, and numbing drops. They also use that beta dyne solution and clean all around your eyes…Dominic took a picture but I can’t find that he sent a copy to me.
Dominic was able to watch the procedure on a screen outside of my actual surgery room, they assign a tech to come and talk through step by step what they are seeing and what is happening. I was able to do this with his surgery too – pretty incredible stuff!
I will say this about the surgery, IT WAS FAST.
Like start to finish less than 10 minutes fast! It is pretty crazy. With Lasik they have to cut flaps in the cornea and then they do the actual laser correction. With PRK they can’t cut the flap because for me my cornea was too thin. Instead they use an alcohol solution that dissolves away a layer of the cornea so that they can go in and do the laser correction. Gross I know. This is also why PRK has such a longer recovery time compared to Lasik.
I was able to see everything that was going on, but I couldn’t feel a thing. And to be honest when we first started I was staring up at the ceiling and just kept praying “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, over and over again. I guess it calmed me (maybe it was a little of the Valium too??) But it was all over so quickly and there was no pain, that I wasn’t scared at all.
Once they have done the laser correction a bandage contact is placed on the eye. This is to allow the corneal cells to regenerate without you feeling the pain of having it uncovered with each blink. My eye doctor told me after the procedure that early in the development phase of this type of surgery people did it for free as test dummies and they originally didn’t use the bandage contact. Yikes!
The contact stays in for 4-5 days, depending on when you have your surgery. My surgery was done on a Thursday morning and I had my contact removed the following Monday.
I was sent home with a bag full of drops, one antibiotic drop, and a steroid drop for swelling. They also gave me some drops that could be used for pain if needed the first 2 days, those drops can slow healing though so I was only allowed 2 drops per day. I was fortunate and didn’t need to use them like I thought I might.
In addition to the drops they give you these awesome goggles to wear every time you sleep. They don’t want anything getting in your eye, or you bumping/rubbing your eye those first few nights. They were not awesome.
I only had to wear them until I got the bandage contacts out – Dominic got to wear his for 2 weeks after his Lasik surgery. 😉
They also send you home with a schedule of when to take all the drops.
Since I am totally Type A – I HAD to actually check the box. I wasn’t sure I would remember where I was in the day if I didn’t. Another thing I would recommend, that I needed, was to have timers set on my phone to tell me when to do the drops. One was every 2 hours, the other 4 times a day. I used alarms on my phone and labeled them so I wouldn’t get confused on what to use, when.
Once I took one of the drops, I reset the alarm for the next time I needed to use them. Invaluable for me really.
I am going to come back in another post and blog about my recovery – that has been even more significant for me and honestly where I have struggled a little. I am thankful that everything went just as planned and my surgery experience was a good one.
Join me again and I will share about how the last 3 weeks has been and where my vision is at today.