The past two-weeks have literally been a blur. I celebrated my birthday with my wonderful husband . He surprised me with a trip to Puerto Vallarta , Mexico. It was beautiful!! The only complaint I had been my pre-operative procedure for my PRK eye surgery. I had to wear glasses for a week and being -8.00 vision, my glasses were not light. It was a small price to pay for what I feel now. Let me start my PRK experience from the beginning which was considering between Lasik and PRK. Going in, I did not even know what PRK was, but my eye doctor said with the dryness in my eyes and my enormous loss in vision, PRK was the better option.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a corrective vision procedure that reshapes the surface of the cornea. The epithelium (first thin layer of the eye) is removed by drops and some scraping (that sounds wonderful right) . Afterwards, the laser reshapes the surface. A contact is put over like a bandage while the epithelium grows back. The first office visit takes 3 hours. The surgery visit takes another 3 hours with only 20 mins being the actual surgery. The third visit four days after the surgery takes about 15 minutes. The whole healing process post-surgery takes around a week . So what is the difference between Lasik versus PRK? This little chart ,compliments of Emory Eye Center, helped me immensely.
Let me be clear, I was extremely scared of any type of laser eye procedure. I always choose to have my pupils dilated over having the worst air ever puffed into my eyes for the glaucoma test. I am a massive child when it comes to my eyes. The main reason I even considered this was my husband. He also paid for it so I could not really say no. I like to say he was really tired of seeing me in glasses . He likes to say he wanted to improve my life. Either way, we both won because he was right. My life is better in a way I did not know, and it has only been a week since surgery! I had spent more than 20 years basically blind. What was 40 more years really? My eyes have astigmatism, dryness, and had allergies so I had to choose the procedure carefully. The main selling point of PRK over Lasik was with Lasik you have a flap over your eye. I can just see me getting sand in my eye one day, and rubbing the flap off. I know it isn’t that easy to remove, but why risk it?
I was recommended to Dr. Kim at Emory Eye Center as one of the best doctors for PRK. I scheduled an appointment that is warned to take three hours! My husband escorted me to ask a lot of questions and be there if I needed a ride which I would recommend if you are sensitive to pupil dilation. A lot of paperwork and eye exams later, I was scheduled to have my PRK in a month! The cost of first visit: $0 (maybe we will get a bill later but so far, nothing) . The surgery cost : $3800 with Dr. Kim or $1800 with Fellow (intern)
Before: No Idea What This Letter Was .. Wouldn’t Even Know There Was a Letter There
- Fill your prescriptions before surgery day. The doctor should call it in. $400 for Pred Forte , Bromday, and Zymaxid which are all eye drops. You do not have to actually take anything until after the surgery. Take the drops with you.
- I bought a box of Refresh Plus Lubricating eye drops because I will need this after surgery. I started the eye drops a week before because I wanted to get use to using them.
- Started taking multi-vitamins with Omega-3. I also started Emergen-C in hopes that all these anti-oxidants will help me heal faster.
- Eat before your surgery.
- Do not consume any alcohol before your surgery. Do not take any sedatives before surgery. They gave me Valium to help calm the nerves on the day of surgery.
- Because I was a soft contact lens wearer, I had to take out my contacts a week before surgery. This is to help the cornea stabilize.
- Do not wear eye make-up 3 days before surgery. Basically do not do anything that would irritate your eyes 3 days before surgery. Also, just throw out all your eye make-up because they harbor bacteria which is not pleasant for a healing wound. It is also a great reason to change-up your make-up anyway.
- Do not wear face make-up on the day of surgery. It will drip off anyway so no need to even attempt looking pretty.
- Wear comfortable clothing the day of surgery. I wore leggings and a pullover. I wanted to be as relaxed as possible.
- Read as much material as you can about the post-surgery to prepare yourself.
- I had my nightstand ready with tissues, Refresh drops, water, vitamins,lip balm, humidifier, a trash can, and my pajamas. I also had some great blackout blinds. I was ready to stay in bed.
- I bought two “sinus eye masks” . They really helped cool my eyes down after surgery. I love these!
Day of Surgery:
- Your prescription eye drops.
- Any paperwork you had to sign.
- Surgery Fee.
- A wonderful person to take you home and be your therapist (for the nervous patient)
this is the look of embarassment
- You feel violated , and all you want to do is rub your eyes. You can’t for 14 days after the surgery.
- I started comfortably driving 5 days after surgery.
- Avoid swimming and hot tubs for three weeks following surgery. I showered the next day, and my eyes stayed away from the water and shampoo.
- I wore my goggles for two days after surgery.
- Use Refresh eye drops every 10 minutes. Yes. Really. Thank me later.
- You will want to wear the Matrix style glasses because light will feel like death during the daytime.
- You guys are going to want the Percocet especially during Day 2 and 3.
The First Week:
I took a sedative and was sleep central all day. My husband was nice enough to wake me up and force me to eat.
This was the hardest day. I needed zero amount of light. I attempted to use my phone and immediately regretted it.
Right eye vision was very fuzzy. I went to a few stores with my husband driving but had to close my eyes because I became very nauseous. I also had to look away every few minutes when watching TV. I used my cold eye mask a lot of the day.
We took out my contact bandage today. It definitely wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I did get overly confident and stayed out a bit too long. My eyes were pretty red and burning so don;t get too cocky with your vision friends.I also stopped using my Bromday eye drops.
Drove for the first time today! My right eye did go out on me, but I was close to home. My husband still picked me up against my will so you can thank him for keeping the streets safe.
My eyes were perfect today 🙂 I still kept up the Refresh drops once every few hours and the normal 4xs a day drops.