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Software Developer. Theatre Professional. Interested in finding creative solutions to artistic and technical problems. Residing in Colorado Springs, CO.

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My PRK Story

On March 1, 2013 I had Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) surgery.  I found other people’s accounts of their PRK experience very helpful so I thought I’d add mine to the mix.

Since I’m still recovering, it’s difficult to spend long periods at the computer and I can’t really see the screen very well to type so I’ll keep this brief for now and add more as my recovery progresses.

Pre-operation
Started vitamin C
ice packs x 5
lots of info
Arranged to have 1 week off work.
black out curtains

Surgery Day
Check in was 1 hour prior to surgery. Total time in office was about 2 hours.
They double-checked my refraction and then gave me a sedative and had me hang out for about 30 minutes until that kicked in.
light-sensitive afterwards
no pain
had lunch out
home for nap
not feeling too bad
start drops (NSAID, Antibiotic, tears, anesthetic)
slept well
vision immediately improved compared to uncorrected vision prior to surgery

+1 day (Saturday)
continue drops
increased pain in afternoon, started tetracaine (anesthetic) and Vicoprofen
Noticing weird “strobing” sensation; mostly when I close my eyes, but sometimes even when they’re open.

+2 (Sunday)
Worst day
difficulty sleeping
serious pain, burning, tearing
ice, ice, baby! – every 30 minutes all day
hydrocodone in Vicoprofen made me nauseated. Alternated with 600mg of Ibuprofen
tetracaine mostly at night or after sleeping for a while when other pain medication wore off.

+3 Monday
Appointment
get the contacts out!
really light-sensitive
took contacts out and immediate pain, gave tetracaine
Improvement: traded burning & tearing for itching and scratchy
vision not much better
next appointment in 2 weeks

+4 Tuesday
difficulty sleeping
wearing sunglasses around the house (never know how light will affect)

+7 Saturday
woke up to burning pain in right eye only (like day 3 pain), had to use tetracaine to get back to sleep
spoke with the on-call Dr.  Probably normal – can be 2 steps forward, 1 step back until healed.

+8 Sunday
notice that distance vision is better than near vision

+9 Monday
back to work
first day driving (hit 2 curbs)
vision different in each eye (left eye blurry, right is blurrier)
decrease computer screen resolution in half
bring sunglasses to work

+10 Tuesday
noticed more double-vision/ghosting in my right eye, left eye same as yesterday

+11 Wednesday
really uncomfortable after sleeping all night – checking into different eye drops

+16 Monday, 2-week check up
Still can’t read the big line on the chart (20/40, I think) and they also were unable to refract me to 20/20. Doc said this isn’t uncommon. Still seeing through the messed up epithelial layer so no amount of focusing will clear up the vision.
I told them about being very uncomfortable in the mornings after sleeping all night w/o using any drops. They recommended a new drop, LiquiGel, to be alternated through the day with the regular tears.
Discontinue antibiotic that was restarted after 1 week. Start Muro 128 due to “loose” epithelial cells that need some extra attention, I guess.  The Muro drops burn like hell, btw.
Next appointment in 2 weeks.

1 month check up
Still can’t read the big line. Can maybe make out the letters but they’re still very blurry. I noticed the tech writes down that I’m seeing 20/30 (based on Dr.’s comments). Found out that I’ve been using the wrong Muro drops.  Apparently, I should have been using the Muro ointment, NOT drops. (Drops were the only thing I found in the pharmacies around here so I thought it was the right thing). Ordered ointment from the pharmacist. This stuff is gross but it doesn’t burn at all, so that’s nice.  Dr. said it didn’t hurt that I used the drops but that the ointment works better.
Next appointment at 2 months.

2 month check up
Noticeable improvement this time. I can pick out a couple of letters on the 20/20 line! That’s progress!  Going to start weaning off the steroid drops (FML); down to 3 times/day this week, then twice/day next week, then once/day until 3 month checkup.

Vision is still blurry, especially for text up close and mid-range.  Still seems like my distance vision is better then near, but the small improvements are encouraging and the doc says I still have a lot of healing to do.

In other positive news, I’m really appreciating the little things that tormented me all the while I wore glasses.

For example:

  • today i walked in the rain and, for the first time in 24 years, wasn’t plagued by drops smearing my lenses!
  • I wrestle with my kids on a whim w/out worrying about taking my glasses off and putting them someplace safe first.
  • I’m more inclined to wear pullovers, sweatshirts, and hoodies, b/c I can take them on and off w/o removing my glasses (that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but here in Colorado, we dress in layers and the sweatshirt may come on and off multiple times in a day depending on the weather – especially in a car, restaurant  house, etc. where taking your glasses off can be cumbersome!)
  • I had to adjust the sprinklers in my lawn last week and didn’t worry about the spray on my glasses causing me not to be able to see!
  • We had a late spring snow last week and my glasses didn’t fog up when I went inside the house from freezing outside temps! :)
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