My eyes are still puffy from crying the whole night last Friday. The Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) procedure was pretty quick and painless (they pointed a laser for about 20 seconds on each eye). The only weird part about it all was smelling the protein burning + the clamp that made me feel like Alex from A Clockwork Orange.
The hours that followed slowly felt like hell, with the blurry vision, sharp shooting pain (you can feel your eyes healing from being lasered, it's like your eyes being poked with a toothpick) and major light sensitivity. I had to rely on my sunglasses even in the dark and put the brightness on all my devices to zero. I didn't have to wear goggles unlike those recovering from LASIK, but I had to wear plastic eye patches each night to make sure I didn't scratch my eye.
For two days I kept asking myself why I had to go with this procedure instead of LASIK (zero downtime), but the more I read about it (I was dying of boredom, okay?) the more I realized that I made the right choice. Athletes and people in the army are always encouraged to get PRK, mostly because the chances of complications are minimal. With LASIK a corneal flap is created on your eye before they treat it, and things like bumping onto a tree branch can dislodge it in the future. With all the climbing I'm doing I'm glad I went through PRK without the painkillers and medicine which slows down the healing process. In America patients are typically given Valium before the procedure, and some even say they're given Vicodin right after as a pain reliever.
I'm getting my contact lens bandages removed later today. My eyesight is sooooo much better now, but I have trouble reading up close. It takes time to achieve 20/20 with PRK (as much as 6 months) since the surface of the cornea takes time to heal, but right now I seriously feel so great! So thankful I got this procedure done!!! I'm excited about surfing without goggles/contacts, climbing without having to bring extra contact lenses and of course waking up without having to reach for my glasses!
If you're interested in PRK here are a couple of tips
- RESEARCH about the whole procedure, its risks, complications and the healing process. A lot of people blog and vlog about their recovery, it just takes a bit of Googling/Youtubing. My operation went well but it doesn't work for everyone. I was scared about the failure rate before the operation.
- Consult a few doctors. Read reviews online or talk to a few people who have had it done. It's important that you trust your doctor and they disclose everything about the procedure.
- Ask a lot of questions. Let your doctor explain the healing process and complications. If they say yes to every patient and convince you that it's 100% safe, walk away!
- Allot 1 month of not being able to read up close, and about 3 months of shifty vision.
- Don't worry too much. Your eyes can't heal instantaneously. You're going to be blind and in pain during the first week. I heard the first few months will be tortuous, but you're going to love your new vision and you'll realize it's all worth it.