My PRK Experience, Part I

Yesterday was the two week mark of my PRK eye surgery at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore. I haven’t experienced any magical improvement in my vision, currently I’m about where I was before I started. Though now instead of being nearsighted, I am no-sighted. There is a haze in my vision that makes it difficult to see up close and far away, but it is slowly clearing up. I may not reach 20/20 for several months.

The procedure was not a good experience. It was very uncomfortable, though not especially painful. Here is a video of the surgery, this is basically what I experienced. The 2:00 minute mark was the most disconcerting, as I did watch them lift away that layer of my cornea.

The second worst part is when the doctor’s aid unceremoniously squirted my eye with the saline solution. I hadn’t been aware that it was going to happen, so they took me off guard. I am so thankful that I didn’t watch this video before the procedure. I had a vague idea of what it would entail, but this is one of those moments in life where it seemed better to be ignorant.

Post surgery I could see pretty well, just a little fuzzy. Caleb drove me and my arsenal of eye drops home and I slept the rest of the day.

They sent me home with five different kinds of drops:

  1. Pred-forte – This is a steroid drop. That’s about all I know about it. I was instructed to use it 4x a day, and I still am.
  2. Besivance – Prevents infection, which is the biggest risk of PRK. I started this 5 days before the surgery, and am using it 4x a day post-op. It makes my eyes goopy, not a fan.
  3. Bromday – For pain (though I’m not sure it actually helped). I’ve been using this once a day since 3 days before the procedure.
  4. Tetracaine – For extreme pain. This was given to me to be used sparingly when the pain was too much. If it’s used too much it can cause complications, like blindness. Needless to say I only used it a handful of times.
  5. Artificial tears – I used these pretty heavily after the procedure, sometimes several times an hour when my eyes were horribly dry. I’ve pretty much stopped using them now. [Edit: DO NOT STOP USING THE ARTIFICIAL TEARS. No one told me to continue using them after I felt that my eyes weren’t dry anymore. Just use them until…always. I’m still waiting for my eyes to actually reach the 20/20 mark, and I found out months later that I was really supposed to continue using the artificial tears. So, there you go.]

The doctor will slowly ease me off of the top three drops over the next couple of weeks (I hope). I’m so very tired of eye drops, it also means my eye lashes are perpetually clumped together, lovely.

In Part II I’ll share the detailed recovery experience, day by day.

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