I’ve finally decided to have it done. In a short time, I’ll hopefully have 20/20 or better vision. I’ve debated on the topic of laser surgery for years, and after a lot of research, it’s time.
My situation is a little unique and the standard LASIK treatment is not recommended. I’ve been training in kickboxing and mixed martial arts for four years now, and often get hit in the open eye with a glove. While not entirely painful, this slight abrasion could have devastating effects down the road to a LASIK patient, even several years down the road.
The problem with LASIK is that it creates a flap of the outermost layer of the cornea prior to the reshaping of the cornea be the laser. This flap is similar to the dimensions of a contact lens. However, the flap is not completely cut off, but a hinge of tissue holds the flap in place for replacement after the laser is done meddling with the eye. I’ve found that the healing of this flap is never quite 100%.
Even up to a year after surgery, I’ve read that the doc can still lift, or peel back, the original flap without making another incision, in the case that an enhancement was needed. Even years down the road, the flap will never heal completely.
And that’s where PRK comes in. While technically I’m a great candidate for LASIK (really though, who isn’t), my violent tendancies could result in an eventual reopening, or complete tearing, of the flap if I were to ever get hit in the eye again. That isn’t a scenario I’d really like to live through. The other option is the surgery called PRK.
In PRK, they use the same type of laser to reform the eye. The difference comes in the method used to get past that pesky outermost corneal layer. Instead of cutting a circular flap, they’re going to use a chemical agent to dissolve, then rub away the outer layer. After the outer layer is removed, the inner cornea can be reshaped by the laser. PRK actually predates LASIK, and is used on military personal as well as those with thin or otherwise difficult corneas.
Now, the abrasion of this tiny outer layer of the eye is not mere trifle. They recommend a complete week off of work, since the eye will be blurry and extremely light sensitive. Having personally been the benefactor of a corneal abrasion by a student’s fingernail, I can tell you that this is not an experience one is likely to volunteer to repeat. The upside is that the eye doc will supply pain relief eye drops and the eye will be covered by a bandage contact that helps the healing process, and takes away the painful friction caused by the pesky eyelid.
It will take up to a month for my vision to get to the point where LASIK patients are able to see in the days immediately following their procedure. The first couple days I doubt I’ll be able to open any shades or turn on any lights. I will have become a hermit. My sole comfort will lie in my subscription to audible.com and the many long hours of audiobooks I am sure to read during that time. That, and having a girlfriend at my side who is training to be a nurse, and who I am more than willing to give all the practice she needs in the field of personal care.
My intention is to keep a log of the days following the PRK surgery here on this blog. It has been helpful for me to find similar stories of people undergoing this procedure, as it shows the ups and downs without the salesman pitch accompanying the surgeon. My surgery is scheduled the day after Thanksgiving, November 23rd. I wish it were sooner, but some large projects at work have been forcing the date further and further back. I’ve decided to not push it into next year, and am making my stance after the Thanksgiving holiday, on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Be sure to check back in if you’re considering refractive surgery. I feel much more confident after researching it and visiting several surgeons in the area, but personal experience logs were probably some of the bigger confidence boosters.