Monday, July 27, 2015

My PRK Experience

I've been wearing glasses since the age of 5. Because of my severe astigmatism in both eyes complimented with near sightedness my eyes have continued to get worse. I've been interested in getting Lasik since I graduated high school, but didn't get up the nerve to take it seriously until now at the age of 27. After researching several places in the Hampton Roads area including a few places that were recommended to me by friends I decided on Tidewater Eye Center. After reading about their credentials, testimonials, and meeting with the staff I just knew that this was the place for me. When I called to make an appointment the secretary scheduled me for a consultation with Dr. J Tom Edmonds.  I've always had my heart set on lasik so imagine my surprise when I found out that due to my thin corneas and dry eyes I was not a candidate. Instead Dr. Edmonds told me that I was a candidate for PRK. He told me to research the procedure and come back with any questions. Me being well me, I read every single bit of information I could find on the internet via Google and YouTube. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was not a lot of recent information documenting people's PRK experiences and the ones that were out there, well let's just say the bad far outweighed the good. I was terrified, but after praying and combing through as many PRK stories as I could find I decided to go through with it.

Pre-Op Appointment:

The day of my pre-op appointment basically consisted of having my eyes measured by several different machines, dilation, tear production test, vision test etc. It honestly was not a whole lot different from my yearly eye exams. After thoroughly reviewing all of the information Dr. Edmonds told me that I was still a PRK candidate although I was on the higher end of the spectrum as far as the severity of my astigmatism, dry eyes, and thin corneas.

PRK Preparation:

 I was told not to wear contacts for at least 2 weeks prior to the procedure which was fine because I hadn't worn contacts in months. It was also recommended that I start taking 1000mg of Vitamin C and I was prescribed Restasis eye drops twice a day to help with my dry eyes.An entire list of what I should do and when was provided to me and I followed it to the letter. I truly believe that this makes a huge difference in your recovery so make it easy on yourself and do what you can to help your procedure be successful!

PRK Day of Surgery
After reading so many mixed reviews on PRK I was a bundle of nerves on the day of surgery. I knew what to expect as far as the surgery was concerned but I was a bit nervous about the recovery period, discomfort, etc. I arrived promptly at 3:30 P.M with my hubby and mom in tow because I wanted needed them to be there! After I was called back my consultant explained to myself and the hubby what I would need to do post op, which consisted of several different types of eyes drops, etc. After that she gave me a small does of Valium to help me relax and I waited to be called back. After a few minutes Dr. Edmonds came in to explain exactly what to expect ( he also explained this to me during my pre-op exam) and then we went back. He checked my eyes one last time and inserted corneal tear ducts into each eye to help with tear production and then we went back to the operating room. Honestly the procedure itself was quite cool. They covered one eye, applied numbing drops to the other, applied an eye speculum to prevent me from blinking and got to work. I didn't feel a thing and the entire procedure for both eyes was over in about 15 minutes. There is a ton out there that explains exactly what happens during the procedure itself so I won't bother to explain it but all it consisted of me doing was staring at a red light. After the procedure was done on each eye a clear contact bandage was applied. Dr. Edmonds checked my eyes one last time and then the nurse taped the coolest looking clear goggles on my eyes and sunglasses and I was on my way! Once the procedure was over I was amazed at how much my vision had improved in just 15 minutes. My vision prior to the procedure was 20/200 in both eyes. I was told to go home and go to sleep, which I didn't think I would be able to do since I was wide awake on the ride home, but as it turned out the meds they gave me took care of that. I slept, woke up and ate dinner. Dr. Edmonds called me that night to check in and see how I was doing. After our chat I went back to sleep and slept for the rest of the evening.

Seeing as how this post is already rather long I will do a separate post including the first 7 days of my recovery. I kept a mini diary to document how I was feeling and what I experienced each day. Stay tuned!

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