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I began wearing glasses in the 3rd grade. I used to have to stand right at the board to be able to take notes, so my teacher mentioned it to my parents. Since then, my eyesight has continued to diminish, but for the last couple of years it has seemed to plateau. In 7th grade I got contacts, and that is still what I wear primarily. I only wear my glasses at night, because they’re uncomfortable, I lose peripheral vision, and I can’t see as well. I am very appreciative of glasses and contacts, but have always desired waking up and having the ability to see! My prescription is L -6.25 and R – 7.00. So I am near-sighted, and basically can’t see anything with clarity unless it is 6 inches from my face and I usually have to wink one eye shut! To put my poor vision into perspective, I can’t see the large E at the eye doctor. I can’t even tell a letter is on the screen (just looks like a blur of gray/white).
I’ve been interested in LASIK for a couple of years, but I FINALLY have my surgery scheduled for this December (of 2015). I recently had my LASIK consultation, which I was supposed to have my contacts out for 3 days prior to, however, no one told me this. They still ran the tests and evaluated my candidacy for LASIK. After several tests and an in-depth eye exam, I was told I have several “marks” against me. These included my age (22), my poor vision, my thin corneas, etc. This made me a poor candidate for LASIK, so the doctor suggested PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) surgery. I had never heard of this, but he told me it was a procedure performed before LASIK (often in the military).
If you’re reading this you probably already know how it works, but just in case, I will describe the procedure. In LASIK, the doctor removes a flap of your cornea, PRK does not involve that step. First, they use an alcohol solution (sounds fun) to remove a portion of the corneal epithelium, they buff it away, then shoot a laser in your eye to reshape your cornea! A contact “bandage” is placed over your eye for protection and to allow for the epithelial cells to grow back. The bandage is removed a few days later.
The doctor also told me the recovery process is more painful and takes longer. This is why I scheduled my exam for December, because my finals will be over and I can take off days from work as necessary. He told me that I will find horror stories online and to not look into them much, but what did I do? You guessed it…
Of course I want to go through with it, but I am scared, nervous, disgusted (with the procedure), and hoping for the best. I’ve been reading blogs and comments about other people’s PRK experience, and unfortunately many people have bad stories to tell. That is why I wanted to start blogging this too, hopefully I can help someone by sharing my experience! I also researched how to recover better/faster, so I’m definitely going to listen to what others have to say.
What I have discovered:
- The best way to recover is to sit in the dark for 3 days after surgery
- Have someone by your side for those 3 days (my boyfriend will be there), so they can help you and get you food!
- Stock up on several bottles of eye drops (I’m going to get Systane Lubricant Eye Drops), and use at least every hour. One blog I read said she used them every 10 minutes!!
- Use a hot/cold sinus mask to ease pain (Elasto-gel Sinus Mask)
- Take Vitamin C every day for two weeks before and during recovery
- Take/eat Omega-3s (I’ll be using Flax seed oil pills, which I take daily anyway)
- Eat a diet rich in Vitamins (lots of fruits and veggies) to boost general immunity and hopefully recover faster
- Purchase blackout curtains or cover windows in tin foil BEFORE your surgery
- Avoid sunlight, tv, phone, computer
- Purchase some audiobooks/use an app because you won’t really have much else to do!
So as I count down the days, I will probably do more research. For now I’m trying not to stress about it or think about it too much because I start getting sick! I will keep this blog updated before and after surgery. I want to avoid the screen so I’ll probably be writing with pen and paper or I’ll have my boyfriend type it up!
Follow the links below to read through my whole journey!
Have you had PRK or LASIK before? Please share your story below!