Bottom Line: My experience getting a kind of vision correction surgery called PRK, part 4.
Please read my disclaimer. Basically, none of this is intended as medical advice, just a description of my experience and the thought process behind my decisions. To find other posts in this series, scroll to the top and hit the PRK tag under the post title.
Yesterday was a pretty good day. I actually felt comfortable enough to drive down to a nearby ( < 1 mi ) grocery store for a few things, at a time when traffic was very low. It wasn’t bad at all, I would have felt comfortable driving much farther, but I wanted to make sure to start small.
Honestly, neither my vision nor discomfort were all that different from POD3. I still had the occasional “foreign body sensation,” likely due to the contacts, which was especially prominent overnight when they would dry out. My eyes also felt dry, possibly even dryer than the day before, but I also spent a lot of time playing with my new Raspberry Pi… meaning that I probably didn’t blink as much as I should have.
The thing that sticks out most was how much I wanted to get the darn bandage contacts out — if you’re a contact wearer, perhaps you’re familiar with the “these contacts have been in too long” feeling. Just uncomfortable, a little dry… hard to describe, but not good.
Still continuing the steroid and antibiotic drops QID, with lubricant PRN.
This morning was the big day! No more bandage contacts! Although I probably would have felt fine driving to my appointment, I’d read (in a series of blog posts that is partly responsible for inspiring my own) that vision can be worse the day the contacts come out. For that reason, I asked a good buddy to give me a lift, and we shared some good conversation about our new home purchases (mine still in progress, his undergoing some renovation before residency).
My ophthalmologist was out of town, so I saw one of his partners, who was also extremely pleasant and patient with my several questions. She put in a few anesthetic drops, which helped her take out the contacts painlessly. She then tested my vision, each eye independently of course. It was weird, I felt like certain blinks — maybe 1/5 — left me with crystal-clear vision, while the rest were still fuzzy. She said I tested at 20/25 OS (left eye — think sinister, like in Spanish) and 20/20 OD (right eye, think “derecho” or “dextro,” most people are more dextrous with their right hand… and OU means “both eyes”). She said those numbers were well ahead of the normal timeline, that most people get there somewhere between days 7-12. She also put in some fluorescein, which we use i the emergency department to basically test for scratches on the eye (the fluorescein-ified scratches glow in a backlight), and said that the epithelium had healed over sufficiently, that the contacts were no longer necessary. Hurrah!
She gave me some more lubricant drops, and taught me something totally new — that the duration and intensity of steroid drops can affect the thickness of the (epithelial?) regrowth, which can be used to fine-tune the eyesight after PRK. Interesting! She instructed me to continue lubricant drops frequently, exhaust what’s left of the tobramycin (antibiotic), and continue the steroids for the month. We may choose to continue the steroids for longer depending on how I’m doing at checkup.
She also had some other good news — I’m good to go as far as exercise is concerned, no worries about sweat in the eyes, and I’m “officially” good enough to drive. Freedom!
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, except that my eyes feel much more “fresh” and comfortable without those contacts. My right eye had some intermittent stinging in a specific spot for a few hours, not sure what that was about, but it seems to be gone now. Hopefully just continued healing of the epithelium.
My vision may be a bit improved compared to yesterday, but only slightly. I still haven’t really gone out at night, so I can’t comment with regards to “halo” and “shadowing” and other effects that some have experienced. I will say that some days — and even some hours — my left eye seems better than my right, but I’m relieved that today my right eye is clearly better. I’m right eye dominant, so I figure that I’d fare better if its vision is as sharp as possible.
I think I’m still going to wear the goofy eye goggles at night for a few days. I was initially told to wear it for the first week, and it’s not that bad, so I might as well. (Note to self: being a “compliant” patient isn’t easy.)
I think that’s all for today, it’s bedtime, and I’m sleepy. I’m pleased to report that this blog post took me probably half the time (per word) to write than my first couple… because I can actually see what I’m typing. Font size is down to 18 from 24 :)
As always, please feel free to leave questions or comments below. As they say, there’s a good chance someone else has the same question but just isn’t asking.