PRK Eye Surgery Recovery

I have been looking into vision correction eye surgery for many years. My vision is not as good as I would like it to be, and frankly it was becoming a little dangerous.

I am a healthy, 23 year old, female. I have a slight astigmatism and am near sighted (-7 in my right eye and almost -6 in my left eye).

After the procedure I took lots of notes (eyes closed typing!) about what I was experiencing and how I felt and things that would make the experience better if I could do it over. I’ve taken the notes and translated them into cohesive sentences. I hope that if you are considering PRK corrective eye surgery this helps you make the best decision for you.

I have noticed some sensitivity to sound and inability to see well enough to cook or clean so if you have kids it might be better to have them somewhere else while you are recovering because you seriously need to rest and it feels worlds better to lay down with your eyes closed. If you can also have someone stay with you the first few days (my mom stayed from Thursday-Sunday) it is a huge help. 

Note: I do not have any connection to or endorse TLC, PRK, LASIK, or eye surgery, this is just a blog of my experience. I am not affiliated with any links provided here- these were just some that I looked at. If you would like me to not link you or anything like that please let me know. Thanks!

December
This past December I went to TLC for a free consultation. This consultation was a full work up of my eyes. My eyes were slightly dilated, measured, looked at from inside and outside. It took about 2 hours. I could drive afterwards.

While at the center I was told I would be a good candidate for either LASIK or PRK, The surgeon, Dr. S.V. ultimately decided PRK would be the best option for me. I have larger pupils, am younger, and have a higher prescription. He wanted to go with a more conservative approach so if I needed any enhancements or adjustments over the years I would be able too.

January
Next, I did tons of research. I looked into the differences of LASIK and PRK as well as all the risks. I spoke with several eye doctors to get their opinion (just on the procedures not on what I was getting done). I had heard many good things about this surgeon so I am comfortable with his decision.

February
I booked my appointment for April 12, 2012. I also found out where and who my post op doctor would be. I don't have one main eye doctor so this would be a new person for me. I was recommended to Dr. F. near me.

March
  • No contacts starting March 25
  • Start Vitamin C supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery March 28 (this continues for several months, so invest in a big bottle)
  • Book appointments for pre-op eye dilation and wave scans
  • Schedule first few post-op check ups
April
  • Go to pre-op dilation April 3. This was a longer check up than I thought. You have to bring a driver. They do several measurements of your eyes and look at your retinas and the thickness of your eyes and that sort of thing. What makes this a longer procedure is they do it all once, and then they give you eye drops. These eye drops dilate your pupils as well as numb your focus nerves. You can semi see far away, however forget trying to read or text anyone. I had my friend drive me and 3 hours later I was still having difficulty reading anything. I don't know how long it would have lasted because I went to bed. 
  • No make up 3 days prior to surgery April 9
Wavescan/Final check up, April 10. Tuesday I had my final check up. I went to the TLC center and they did final pictures of my eyes an checked to ensure there hadn’t been any changes. This took about a half hour and was very straight forward. It was tests that I had had done before at both the dilation appointment and during the consultation.  They did the one where you look in the machine and there is an image of a road and a house or a balloon at the end, and the machine corrects it for clarity. They took  pictures for mapping of your eye for depth and stigmatism. They were able to walk me through step by step what my day was going to be like when I got there on Thursday.

This is when they give you all the prescriptions to fill. You have to start your antibiotic drops the day before the procedure. You also have to bring all the drops to the surgery.

Surgery Day- Day 1
Mom and I left the house early and I didn’t sleep the night before, I was very anxious. We checked in at 8:25. Then they took me into a room to signed papers for payment, liability, and consent forms. Next, I went with one of the doctors and they did a quick check of my eyes and cleaned my eyelids with a harsh soap that stung and then wiped my eyelids a few more times. After she walked me through the post op procedures with the eye drops and what to expect within the room.

We were still early so we went back to the waiting room for them to call me in. I was brought back into a room where they gave me a cap to cover my hair and booties to go over my shoes. Then the doctor came in, we went over my consent forms and the procedure again. He gave me a Valium and I went to a fairly dark room to wait for the Valium to kick in. They let me keep my iPod with me.

I waited until about 10:15 to go into the procedure room. I had to say my name and my birthday before going into the room and again before sitting on the surgical chair. It was a little cold so dress in warm comfy clothes. I lay down and was basically freaking out. But the doctor and his assistants were wonderful. They told me step by step what they were doing and what was going to happen next. They also let someone hold me hand the whole time which helped a ton.

I lay down on the table and they pivot the chair so I’m under the laser. They cover one eye (my left) and then they tape my right eye open, the top and the bottom. They then put a thing that felt a little like the egg dipper you use for dying Easter eggs, and fit that round my eye. You still feel like you're blinking but in reality you can't. Then he put in tons of drops and washes your eye a few times with different numbing and vision changing ones, I don’t remember exactly how it went but I do know that he told me what he was doing.

After they propped your eyes open and you were all prepped and washed up they used the solution that will take the epithelial cells off of your eye. That was just bizarre. It took about 40 seconds and then he used a little brush /sponge on your eye to clean it. You could see the brush but couldn't feel it at all, it was more weird than anything else. After that the they dimmed the lights they counted down how long things were taking. There was a red light that blinked above my eye, I was told to focus focus focus on it. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it the whole time but he kept reminding me and the laser is smart enough so if you looked away it would automatically stop and not continue until you eye was lined back up. 

While the laser is going it smells like burning hair but there was no freaky noises or anything. And they warn you about that too.

Each eye varies so one eye for me was about 30 seconds and the other was closer to 40. The time that it took to have this done was crazy. I was able to see better then I had seen in a long time right from the table. I was in the room for about 10 minutes, 15 minutes tops.

After they zapped your eyes they take you out from under the laser and do a ton of different drops. They take the egg dipper out of your eye and take the sticky pads they used to hold you eye open off. Then they prepped my left eye and covered my right eye and it was the same process.

Amazing. Then I went to a darker room across the hall and they checked to make sure the contact bandaid was ok and to put some drops in my eyes and go over any last questions for post op. They also gave you a bag that has all of your papers and care information as well as all of your drop. They give you a prescription for the pain killers at the end of the visit so mom and I had to stop at a pharmacy on the way home. We also had to get lubricating eye drops because I forgot to get those before.

Day 2 - Friday
I wore my sunglasses to bed last night. I wanted to be able to get to my eyes really fast if I needed to  put drops in. I didn’t really sleep but I woke up a few times. Not because I was in pain or any real discomfort, I just woke up.

For me, I have drops that I put in at scheduled times and drops that I can use all the time. The lubricating drops are amazing. We have a big box of those and I use them at least once an hour so far. My eyes today aren’t uncomfortable if you keep up with the drops.

I had my first post op check up and I can see 20/50 in my left eye and 20/60 in my right eye so far. This is better then I could see before without glasses! I was also told that my contacts will be taken out on day 4 or day 5 depending on healing, so I have a few more days of this. Vision is still blurry, and can’t read very well. I’ve been resting a lot and keeping my eyes closed.

Def helps to have someone stay with you to do the drops the first few times esp since you are groggy and they can keep track for you and feed you. Also nice to put a cool cloth or an ice pack on your forehead if you have a lot of pressure or tension right there. Otherwise, so far so good and I’m hoping the rest of the healing is going to be like this!

And yes, I’m still wearing sunglasses. When I went outside I was wearing my extra rolled up sung lasses and the regular sunglasses.

I have the computer magnified to 400% it’s a little blurry and I’m trying to not read it anyway because I don’t want to strain my eyes.

That’s it for now!

Day 3- Saturday
My vision is a lot worse today. I slept the same as the night before with glasses on and woke up a few times. The pills have made me a little nauseous and the drops have a slightly metallic aftertaste. I’ve been dozing a lot today. My vision in my left eye is 20/100 and my right eye is 20/50. After the the doctors appointment today they told me I might have the contact taken out on Monday if my eyes continue to heal as well has they have been doing. The doctor showed me how to clean my eyelashes with a q-tip dipped in warm water. All the drops have made my eyelashes very sticky and my eyes would pretty much seal shut. As the eye grows back the vision is supposed to get blurry. I think that tomorrow is supposed to be a better day but I’m not sure, I’ll let you know when I find out!

If you are having this done it is very helpful o have a caretaker during these first few days. It is difficult to read the bottles for the eye drops and if you want to track when you last did drops/took pills. If would also be difficult to cook anything.

I also took a shower which makes the outlook on life so much better (you can't shower the first 24 and can't get eyes wet for several days).

After reading about the pain that this point is supposed to be at, its really not that bad (so far). I keep using the lubricating drops and that is very helpful but the Vicodin takes the edge of (1/2 of a pill every 3 hours; even still we forgot and I didn't notice any changes). Mostly feels like you have contacts in and your eyes get dry and that would feel the sandy or just like a thicker contact. But it is ok.

The light has been a little tough so I have worn my sunglasses all the time since Thursday. And I  use the sun glasses instead of the turtle shell eye covers so I can put drops in quickly if they feel dry.

Day 4- Sunday
My eyes are a little better than yesterday but still not as good as Friday. I woke up once in the middle of the night and my eyes were stuck shut, so I just cover them in the lubricating drops until they would unstick. There is no pain but today I seem to have headaches and a little more soreness. I had a friend come and visit today so I was up talking for a few hours which also was more time awake in a consistent time frame then I’ve done so far. I’m exhausted. My mom also left so now I’m on my own for preparing food and making sure I stay on track with my drops and taking pills. I set some alarms on my phone because I can’t read the clocks easily.
  
Hopefully I’m healing fast enough and well enough that they can take the contact out tomorrow. Apparently after the contact is out you should be able to start driving yourself again. They also said that you should be seeing 20/40 in order to be able to comfortably see the computer screen. From how my eyes are right now, you definitely need several days off. Right now my computer is up to 420% because my eyes are a lot blurrier. The font is still blurry but I’m able to make out the letters if I need too. Again I’m doing most of my typing with my eyes closed.

Back to napping and resting!

Day 5 – Monday
Was able to sleep most of the night which was nice. Because of all my napping it has been difficult to sleep all night. My eyes are much clearer today but I cant wait for what it will be like by the end of the week! 

I’m excited to find out if I’m going to have my contact taken out today or tomorrow. I know hat the vision will go down after that, but it would be good to get on that healing track. Again, no pain or discomfort. Using the lubricating drops as I need and even when I don’t think I need them. I still have little headaches but that could be any number of things. I’ve been using an icepack on my forehead and its very relaxing.

***
I just went to the doctor and he took the contacts out of my eyes. Things are back to being blurry but my eyes should start to become clearer even faster now. My right eye is healing faster then my left and is a bit clearer than my left eye. Back to eye drops and napping!

Eyes are much drier without the contact lenses. Doing drops a lot more, prob half hour or so.

Day 6- Tuesday
Eyes are very dry and very blurry. Similar to Saturday. Today is yet another day of napping and resting. Very hard to focus on anything.

Day 7 Wednesday
Eyes are blurry but def clearing up. Slight headache still. Little dizzy since one eye is clearer than the other. Still resting and minimal electronics usage/reading.

Day 8 Thursday
Blurry. I can read across the room a little better but looking at things up close is a little tougher.

Day 9 – Friday
Blurry but improving

Day 11 – Sunday
Still clearing up… basically feels like I have contacts in and my eyes are tired/dry, not discomfort but just a little weird.

Day 14- Thursday
2 week check up. I have noticed that the blurry is just how it would be wearing contacts by the end of the day when you eyes are tired. No discomfort in terms of pain. 20/20 vision in both eyes although the clarity isn't 100% yet. Reading is ok and work is fine too. I do have some light sensitivity however that should go away as the healing continues.

Thanks for reading! I"ll keep you posted of any other changes and updates I may have. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to post below and I'll try and help you out. Best of luck!

1 Month
About 20/20 in both eyes, still blurry. Dry eyes in the morning. Lubricating drops are a must. Continuing steroid drops as directed. 

2 Months
Just passed my 2nd month this past Monday! Vision is great. Steroid drops 1x day starting today. Lubricating drops 1x day is pretty much what I need. Night driving has a little glare when eyes are drier than normal.

Last week of June: Eyes very dry. I think it is due to the air conditioning and fans due to the heat. Not super awesome. Drops are a life saver!

July 26: No more steroid eye drops! Eyes are still a bit dry in the morning but it goes away with a few blinks or I use lubricating drops.

3 Months
August 18:  Dry eye comes and goes; better days worse days. I'm seeing about 25/20 to 20/20 there about. Even with the little bit of dry eye, it is awesome to be able to wake up and see!

7 Months
Oct 17: Very happy with my choice! Dry eye is still improving, when I am tired it can be more sensitive in the mornings. Went camping recently and the smoke bothered me a bit more than I remembered, but I'm sure that will go away with time as well.

9 Months
Dec 18, 2012: No change from the slight dry eye in the morning/when I'm tired/late at night (fan when I'm sleeping makes it worse, waiting to see if dry winter weather has any impact). I still don't use eye drops. I'm thinking this is what it will be - and I'm very happy!!!

Here are some silly joys that I have:
  • Falling asleep with the TV on without having to worry about glasses digging into my face or contacts rolled up into my head! 
  • I heard an alarm going off one night and was able to get ready and to the door without worrying about where my glasses or vision. 
  • I can eat soup or drain pasta without my vision disappearing into a cloud of fog.
  • Going into a warm building from the cold out side - no foggy glasses!
  • Raining? It won't be on your glasses any more!
10 Months
Jan 24, 2013: No changes, slight dry eye in the morning sometimes (no need for drops), sometimes glare at night, sometimes a bit more painful from the sunshine- I always have sunglasses in my car or in my bag.

Some people say to wait for the surgery if you are going to be working in an office after college because your vision can change from seeing the computer screen all the time. I was not concerned about that because I worked in a compute lab and was on a computer a lot of the other time anyways. Since I have been working on a computer all the time I have not noticed any change in my vision from using the computer.

12 Months
April 12, 2013: Happy one year!! I'm happy to report that there are no changes from the above post and that life is good!! :) Unless there is a change to write about, assume that everything is stable and still awesome. Post a comment if you have any questions about my experience, and until then... See ya!
24 Months
April 12, 2014: Happy two years!! Everything is just as great as before. Still no regrets! Loving what I see! :)

Note: I do not have any connection to or endorse TLC, PRK, LASIK, or eye surgery, this is just a blog of my experience. I am not affiliated with any links provided here- these were just some that I looked at. If you would like me to not link you or anything like that please let me know. Thanks!

32 comments:

  1. It is a brilliant blog post. What i look for the post many time. Thanks for the share Cost Laser Eye Surgery in your post.

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  2. I will have my custom PRK in three days.mthanks for the blog, was interesting to read. All the best for you.

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  3. Best of luck with your procedure and I hope you have a fast recovery! I know I am so thrilled with my "new" eyes even a year later. =)

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  4. Thanks for discussing valuable information..All laser vision correction surgeries work by reshaping the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. LASIK is one of a number of different surgical techniques used to reshape the cornea..And now a days Lasik is the most popular one among all treatment..

    Best eye hospital in Ludhiana

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  5. Thanks for sharing, I'm having my prk tomorrow

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  6. Time flies! Seems like yesterday you had this done! Glad to hear you love your "new" vision and that everything worked out so well. My LASIK is 14 years old - after being a minus 8, it still feels like new. Stay focused on the positivity in life - it helps to keep all things clear.

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  7. Really amazing blog, I’d love to discover some extra information.

    ophthalmic instruments

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  8. It’s amazing how you were able to remember all of that in complete detail. And although it took a little while before you got to enjoy the full benefits of the surgery, I’m glad everything turned out perfectly. I hope that’s still the case, now that it’s been years since the operation. Have a good day!

    Penny Byrd @ NCEENT

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes! I love my eyes!! Still one of the best decisions I have ever made and I recommend this to everyone. Thanks for reading! :)

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  9. Your post is so inspirational! I've had eyes problems since I was younger, but I've always been too scared to go through with an eye surgery. My doctor is going to be getting a call from me next week to get the process started! Thank you so much for your story!!! I hope that your recovery continues to go well!

    Sara Welsh | http://www.eyecarefortulsa.com

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  10. What made you choose TLC? I to am going to have PRK and have visited a couple of places TLC being one of them. They are more expensive but the cost is of little concern.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Craig, I picked TLC because I knew several co-workers who had used them and had a good experience. They also have many clinics around the country so I felt confident that they had gathered lots of data and experience for any situation.

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  11. That’s a long progress of healing, but it's good to know that you achieved terrific results in the end. It’s a good thing that you took this preemptive surgery before your eyesight got any worse. I could tell how pleased you are with the longtime benefits this procedure has gave you. Cheers!

    Audrey Mack @ Clarity Vision

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  12. I’m happy that you went out of your eye surgery successfully, Kat. I'm also very glad that you recovered well from it. Congratulations! Anyway, I understand how you felt throughout your journey all throughout the procedure. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story! All the best to you!


    Byron Brewer @ Knight and Sanders

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  13. I am on the 11th day after PRK and noticed that today my distance seemed clearer and sharper today than it has ever been. However, I am still struggling with my close up vision. I have had to grab reading glasses just work so I can see computer & read. But getting impatient because simple things like tweezing my eyebrows just can be done. Will this vision ever return and if so, when?

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  14. I am on the 11th day after PRK and noticed that today my distance seemed clearer and sharper today than it has ever been. However, I am still struggling with my close up vision. I have had to grab reading glasses just work so I can see computer & read. But getting impatient because simple things like tweezing my eyebrows just can be done. Will this vision ever return and if so, when?

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  15. Patience and lots of eye drops! Your eyes are healing and this takes time. It is ok, expected, and normal to have to use some extra magnification to see details but this will lessen in time.

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  16. Nice story! Sharing my own PRK (TransPRK) story here for anyone interested - did the surgery in March 2015:
    http://mytransprkstory.blogspot.ch/

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  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  18. Hi! I love your story, it was great. As of right now I have an appt for PRK Jan 6. I am a 20 yr old college female and I have concerns about the surgery. My dad used to say to me dont have surgery unless you absolutely need it and I agree with that and now that I am no longer a candidate for lasik, PRK is my only option. I guess my biggest concern is going back to college january 24. Is that enough time for me to partly heal from this surgery? WHat would you have preferred aftter going throo the surgery if you were put in my shoes? Also when did you notice the dryness of your eye stopped?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! I'm glad you found this page helpful! I think you will be fine but you may still have some light sensitivity with being on the computer. I notice the dryness stopped after about 3-4 months. But you must follow your doctor's instructions for when and how often to put in your eye drops! I did and my eyes healed quickly and was text-book for good results! My mom had put together a chart so we could check off every x hours for drops or medicine.

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  19. This is really good and interesting piece of work. i liked it,and wanted to know more about it. cataract surgery in punjab

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  20. Wha! This is great full blog i like this type blog. Deferentially this blog have this quality big cost, special effects, thank for sharing this blog.
    Hip Pain Frankfort

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  21. Thanks so much for posting your experience. Did they put you on Restasis or have you take Omega 3 at all? Just wondering. My surgery is scheduled for November.

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  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  23. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your PRK surgery. I had PRK in my right eye about six weeks ago (similar prescription to you, -6.5), and I'm having some dry eye too and my vision is still fluctuating a lot during the day and between days. Are you still having dry eye now, and did you have dry eye before PRK?

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  24. Unknown on 10/18 Sorry I did not see this due to family things happening this fall. I did not take any of those things. I hope your procedure went well!!

    Eye blogger: the dry eye goes down over the upcoming year. Follow all the eye drop rules and do them all the time! I do not have dry eye any more. Best luck healing!

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  25. Thank you for sharing this detailed article

    I found an other article that can help:
    PRK Recovery Timeline in 4 Stages
    http://eyesadvisor.com/prk-recovery-timeline/

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  26. Hey thanks for the information, i learned a lot, here are some extras:
    cataract surgery - eye surgery that involves removing all or part of the lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens implant
    eye operation, eye surgery - any surgical procedure involving the eyes
    intracapsular surgery - cataract surgery in which the entire lens is removed
    extracapsular surgery - cataract surgery in which only the front of the lens is removed; the back of the lens capsule remains intact and provides support for the lens implant. If anyone wants more info check out my site!!!
    http://marylandcataractsurgeon.com/index.php/montgomery-cataract-surgeons/

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