Tag Archives: eye surgery

I had PRK surgery – My Experience Part Three

Thanks for sticking with me on this journey through my PRK surgery. If you are just joining me you can read my all about surgery day and some of the heart work I have had to go through up to this point and finally my first week after surgery.

Here I am at 3 weeks post surgery!

PRK 7

Knowing that I wouldn’t be driving for another whole week until I was checked again at week 2 was almost unbearable. I know, what a baby I am, but I wanted my freedom back!

It was hard to tell each day if there was much difference. At times I felt like things were really clear, and then the next day things would seem to regress back. One day my right eye was good, and the next my left. Over the course of almost 3 weeks now my left eye is consistently less clear than the right.

My time on the computer has gotten much better, my eyes seem to be adjusting faster and don’t get as tired as they did in week 1. It isn’t perfect like when I wore glasses, but it is getting there and the bonus is I don’t wear glasses anymore!

At the week 1 visit my eye doctor did some refraction testing, just to make sure that the blurriness I was seeing couldn’t be corrected with glasses. Good news, it can’t, which basically means that I need to let my eyes heal. If it had turned out the other way it may have meant that the correction either wasn’t enough or was too much…so I am grateful that it is just an issue of time and healing.

At week 1 the cloudiness I experienced initially is completely gone. If you research PRK you will find that there is a drug commonly used called Mitomycin C. It is applied during surgery and is used to prevent hazing that sometimes comes with PRK. The waiver I had to sign scared me, some of the stuff I read online did as well…that was one of the hitches I initially had.

After the surgery was done I asked if they had used that drug and they didn’t. Vance felt that it wasn’t necessary because they didn’t have to remove much of my corneal cells to get the correction I needed. I was relieved, but initially those first few days I wondered if that had been a mistake! Today the hazing is completely gone. Praise God!!

I don’t know that I ever said this before…my vision before the surgery was 20/200 and 20/300 with astigmatism in both eyes.

At week two I was hopeful. Although I knew things were still fuzzy, for the most part I felt like driving shouldn’t be an issue. I tested 20/20 in my right eye (although it was fuzzy and not crisp) and 20/50 in my left. My left eye was also giving me some double vision. I only noticed it when I covered my right eye, but it was there and made reading the eye charts very difficult.

But I was cleared to drive in the day time. She said to use my best judgement at night, and until a few nights ago, almost 3 weeks from the date of surgery, I had not driven after about 6pm. It wasn’t worth the risk, especially in deer country here!

Tonight I drove across town…maybe less than 5 miles. I was impressed with how clear everything seemed and also that there were no issues with starbursts. (Another common side effect.) I have to believe that each day it IS getting slowly better, I just am not noticing it maybe?

My next check will be on October 1st, at 4 weeks. I am very curious to see how things look then and will be sure to post an update here.  When I saw her at 2 weeks, I had just finished all of my steroid drops. She did recommend that I use the re-wetting drops a couple of times a day (the preservative free, single package ones) but honestly my eyes rarely feel dry, so I forget that I need to use them.

I did not suffer from dry eyes prior to the surgery. I understand that if you do you could experience more issues after this type of surgery…it is something that they tested me for early on. I am also still taking those Thera Tears supplements that are supposed to help with the moisture in your eye. So is that helping, or is it placebo effect? I can’t really say! 🙂

I was talking to my mom last week and said I am not sure yet if I can say that I would recommend this specific type of surgery to someone. If Lasik had been an option for me I would have jumped on it with no reservations. After watching how things were for Dominic, how he saw 20/15 the 2nd day, didn’t experience the changing vision or much light sensitivity…if I could choose that would be an obvious choice.

Although I did my research, prepared myself for what could happen…having it take this long HAS been frustrating. Knowing it is normal doesn’t really make it any better either. I wanted to be better than normal! ha! 🙂 If you don’t have someone available to help with your driving for up to 2 weeks, the grocery shopping etc., if you have a job that is all day at a computer and you can’t take some extended time off…even part time, this surgery may not be for you right now.

Of course everyone heals differently. I met someone who had 5 bad days and then experienced great vision after that. That was not the way I experienced this. It has been a slow process so I guess I would say if you can really be comfortable with the “waiting”, then I do believe that the end result is totally worth it.

I think the point is that before you make the choice to have any elective surgery like this you need to research, understand the risks and possible healing time etc., and make sure that this is the right choice for you.

Do I regret having the surgery?

Not at all. I know soon I will  have the vision I once had with glasses. And I won’t have glasses, and I LOVE that. Seriously I can’t say how often I think that I am glad I am not wearing glasses. All the time – so I am glad I did the surgery. I also had a great support system, from my husband to the doctors who answered my questions, to my family who helped with things when I couldn’t. That has made all of this much easier!

So that brings us to the present. I will post again about my 1 month appointment when I have it!! Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will answer them based on my experience!

Kristin

I had PRK surgery – My Experience Part Two

Thanks for sticking with me on this journey through my PRK surgery. If you are just joining me you can read my all about surgery day and some of the heart work I have had to go through up to this point.

I wanted to use this post to try and describe the days and now few weeks after my initial surgery date. I had surgery on September 4th, 2014. As I described before it was fast and painless.  After doing a bunch of research I was concerned about how bad the recovery would be the first 4 days. I read those were the worst days and people described it as anywhere from extreme light sensitivity to burning, itching and constant watering of the eyes.

As any good office manager would do I scheduled a couple of client meetings for Dominic in Sioux Falls on the afternoon after my surgery. All work and no play apparently…so he brought me to my parent’s house so that I could relax there after the surgery was done. We had lunch and I was feeling pretty good, didn’t even need sunglasses. Everything looked hazy to me. Like I needed to blink away a covering over my eye. I have heard others describe it as having wax paper over their eyes, and that is a pretty accurate description.

I slept for awhile and then got up again and really felt good. I wasn’t having any pain at all. I am allergic to codine and typically they prescribe Tylenol 3 after PRK surgery just in case. I knew that I couldn’t take that so Tylenol/Advil were my only options. Thankfully I didn’t really even need those!

PRK 4

My poor selfie a few hours after the surgery. I look a little miserable.

I was worried about the bandage contacts getting dried out as I slept, so I did set an alarm the first few nights at 2am just so I would get up and put the rewetting eye drops in. On the 3rd night I thought I didn’t need to set the alarm and when I woke up both contacts felt like they were slipping out of place. Rewetting drops helped get everything back to normal.

My worst day was Saturday (Day 3). I had to wear sunglasses in the house in a darkened room. I spent most of the day on the couch listening to a book on tape and only got up to do my drops. A lazy day for sure. I was lucky because my mother-in-law volunteered to take the kids with her to their house for the weekend so that I could have quiet to rest and recover. This really was a blessing, so if you are considering the surgery and have kids I would recommend you ask for help for those first few days.

My vision remained cloudy for the entire weekend. It was pretty blurry as well and I wasn’t feeling confident that when I got the contacts out that I would be seeing the 20/40 required. The doctor thought that I would be driving by Monday (day 5), but when I was checked I just wasn’t there.

I was devastated.

Because my surgery experience was so good and I didn’t really experience pain I thought that the time it would take for my vision to return to normal would be fast. In my case that hasn’t happened.

I understand this is normal. My eye doctor says that the cells are healing, my eyes look good…but because I had the PRK, it can take anywhere from 2-5 weeks to get to 20/20 vision…and even then there are people that don’t achieve that until 3 months.

I knew this going in, yet I believed that this wouldn’t be my reality. So it has been a frustrating few weeks only because I had some unrealistic expectations that weren’t met.

I was checked at 1 week and still no driving. I believe at that appointment there were tears. I was NOT handling being dependent on others this much. I missed picking the kids up from school, I wanted that few 5 minutes alone on my way to the school. I wasn’t supposed to get checked again until the 1 month mark, but when things weren’t as hoped at 1 week, my eye doctor said that she would check me again in a week.

The worst part the entire first week was seeing at the computer. The white, bright background with black letters was almost impossible to read. If I were to go do it all over I would have not scheduled any clients meetings the entire week after my surgery and just taken time off. I stained to see clearly, and got headaches because I had to constantly move back and forth to try and get some clarity.

That is one reason these posts didn’t happen sooner…I couldn’t spend a single moment longer than I needed on a computer.

I do wonder if my rushing back to work slowed my healing at all…had I spent more time resting my eyes, would things have changed sooner?

I am going to end here again, and will come back tomorrow for an update on my week 2 check up and what is next!

I had PRK surgery – My Experience Part One

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!

PRK 1

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.

PRK 5

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.

PRK 3

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.

PRK 6

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.

PRK 2

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.

Kristin

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