PRK Day 1

Yesterday afternoon I had the PRK Laser Vision Correction surgery. I was pretty stressed out beforehand, and took the Valium they offered me to calm my nerves. I’m glad I did. It was a little odd having several people all poking and prodding at your open eyeballs under the laser.

The procedure took maybe five or six minutes. The PRK surgery differs from LASIK in that rather than creating a flap on the outer cornea layer, they chemically (or mechanically) remove that outer layer. For me, they used some kind of chemical that ate away at the outer layer. You don’t feel any burning because your eyes are numb from some numbing drops.

After that, they poke and probe your eye with various instruments, then all of a sudden it’s laser time. You just keep your eye focussed on a flashing red light and hear this ticking sound and smell the faint odor of burning flesh (yum). I think they had the laser on me for about 30 seconds per eye. I’ve heard they sometimes count down the seconds, but htese guys just said when you are halfway done.

They shoot cold water on your eyeball a couple times in the surgery, and that one seemed to be the biggest shocker. Each time they did that it startled me because of how cold it was.

During the procedure it felt like I wasn’t looking straight ahead the whole time, it kinda felt like my eye moved or twitched a little. I asked the doc afterwards and he said that my eye was fine and hadn’t moved at all. I have heard the same from other people, and the machine has some tracking mechanism built in so that it will shut off the instant it detects eye movement.

And that was it. They placed bandage contacts on my eyes and sent me on my way with a load of eyedrops and instructions. I went to sleep for about four hours. Rather, I kept my eyes shut and slept intermitantly for four hours as instructed. There was only a minor amount of pain akin to a scratch in your eye or something that you just can’t get out. Nothing more than an annoyance.

In PRK, you are very light sensistive the first several days, and I’ve gotta keep most lights off in my apartment and wear the ultra cool shades they gave me.

Today is the day after, I just woke up from a nights sleep. Things seem a little clearer and it’s a little light less sensitive to light. I’m writing this blog but can only partially see what I’m typing, even after enlarging the font up really big. I know from other people’s experience that there will be a lot of fluctuation this first week: someitmes you’ll see better, then the next day it will be worse. I’m sure it will be frustrating, but at least I know that’s coming. I’ve also heard that the second and thrid days after PRK are going to be the worst as far as pain goes. They didn’t presribe any pain meds besides over the counter stuff (Tylenol PM and Advil PM).

PRK is supposed to put you out of work for a week because of the fluctuations, pain, and light-sensitivity. I got it done two days before thanksgiving, so I’ll only miss a few days of actual work. I’ll keep this blog updated in the next couple days and weeks in the hopes that other souls may stumble across it.When I was researching PRK, I read a lot of blogs from people who had undergone the procedure, and that helped make my decision.

17 thoughts on “PRK Day 1

  1. Thank you for writing this! I had PRK this past Thursday and it is now Sunday. The first day (after) it hurt like hell and pain pills did little. Now it’s 3 days post op and I no longer hurt but I can’t see any better, even a little worse. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. I had PRK on saturday the 17th and i wasnt looking forward to the recovery however I have had no pain at all so far. I have however had some irritation from the contact drying out but all my drops solve that issue. Get my other eye done on thursday. Highly recommend doing one eye at a time.

  3. Today, 7/20/2012, is my Day 1, first day after surgery.

    But first a bit of my history. I had cataract surgery on May15, 2012. Because I had nearsightness too great to be corrected by any implant, I chose to have a plain implant in order to retain my perfect 20/20 (before the cataract) near vision. Unfortunately the implant increased my astigmatism from under 1 to 2.5, rendering me with the same 20/50 vision I had with the cataract. My Dr. Referred me to a cornea specialist in Birmingham, AL. (8 years of specialized training in corneas). He spent an extensive amount of time explaining what the options were and why Lasix would be more complex procedure because of making a second incision in the same eye we agreed on PRK. It would be done 2 hours later.

    At 12:30 PM, after I had taken I was taken into the cold room (laser machines need cold!). And laid on a very comfortable, space age style table. I was covered with a blanket which was heavy enough to keep me warm. They explained every step of the process before and while they were doing it. They even turned on the laser for a few seconds to demonstrate the rat-tat-tat sound it made. I was told I would get 13 seconds of the laser and they did a countdown during the 13 seconds. The water spray was cool, but not cold. The total procedure was over in about 15 minutes and soon walked out the door and my husband drove the 1 1/2 hour home. I wore my cataract sunglasses which are very dark. I leaned back my car seat and kept my eyes closed for almost all of the trip. When I got home I put on my protective sleeping Goggles and slept for the rest of the afternoon. We ate dinner and I stayed up but realized the lights was making my eye burn and hurt. (the numbing drops had worn up 15-30minutes after surgery.). I took two regular Tylenol and was pain free by the time I went to bed. I had to get up at 7:00 because I had to be at my eye doctor (a 30min.) drive for a 9:45 app’t. I had used all my drops for the morning and taken two Tylenol. Since I had PRK only on my left eye and my right eye is my dominant eye, I was able to drive myself to the doctor. I got a clean bill of health and was able to read the 20/30 line on the eye chart. I got home about 12:15, ate lunch a little late and took a three hour nap.

    I have been up, cooking, spent some time on-lime and will go to bed about 11 PM. I am experiencing some discomfort but no real pain. I find that the wetting drops really help. My eye doctor gave me the following advice about using eye drops to maximize their effectiveness: put the drop in the eye. Immediately close the eye and keep it closed for 25 seconds. By doing this you hold the drop in the eye instead of blinking it out immediately. It really seems to help with wetting drops.

    Thoughts at the end of day one. I’m amazed at those of you who had two eyes done a the same time. Without one functioning eye I, my. Husband and my dogs would starve to death, the dogs would have no water in their bowls, and there would be no clean clothes in the house! Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without one good eye and pain in only one eye.

    I will not need PRK on my right eye because that surgery, when done, will have a toric lens because the astigmatism is greater and that will solve the problem.

    Now on to Day 2.

  4. I’m posting my Day 2 here since ther is no Day 2 on the blog.

    I must admit I went to bed last night expecting a bad day today after reading other comments about Day 2 and Day 3 being the worst days. I have been pleasantly surprised. I slept until 8:30 when my husband unleashed our 2 border collies who jumped on the bed and snuggled with me. (thank goodness for protective sleep goggles!). I took two extra strength Tylenol when I got up and put my first round of meds in my eye. So far nothing seemed worse. I played on my computer while I ate breakfast but decided that made my eye tired so I took a break and just did some simple household chores. So far, so good. By lunch my eye was tired and hurt some so I took one extra strength Tylenol, went out side and played a round of Frisbee with my Frisbee addicted 3 yr old border collie. Lay down about 2PM for 3 hours of rest although I didn’t sleep. When I got up my eye didn’t hurt but I used the wetting drops because they make my eye feel so much better. I used them once between morning and lunch eye drops and twice in the afternoon – 2 and 5. Noticed my sensitivity to light had greatly decreased and my vision has improved. Now I feel like I’m looking through a light layer of gauze unstead of a heavy layer. It’s almost 9 PM and I can actually read what I am typing on my iPad although it is somewhat blurry.

    What a pleasant surprise today has been! My analysis of why my experience is different – I had a correction of only 2.5 of astigmatism and 13 seconds of the laser, while Chad had the laser for about 30 seconds. Hence I think I have less tissue damage to repair. Maybe there is a relation between healing time and the amount of correction.

    But we will see how Day 3 goes but I am optimistic!

    After days 0(surgery day)-2, I am in total awe of all off you who had both eyes done at the same time. I would be certifiable by now. Knowing what I know now, for me I would always choose to have each eye done separately. Half as much pain, twice as much vision. I would go through it twice just to have the positive parts.

    Have a great Saturday night! Talk to you tomorrow about my Day 3!

  5. Thanks for sharing! Just had PRK done on the first eye and it’s good to know I’m not the only one experiencing more than the “mild discomfort” as advertised. However, it’s now the 3rd day and am feeling much better. Look forward to checking out the rest of your PRK experience

    • I have enjoyed reading all the reviews of PRK recovery. Because of the majority of them, I had prepared myself for the worst. But everyone’s healing is different. I had my PRK surgery last Tuesday 10/9/12 at 4pm. I was in there less than 5 minutes. Its now, Sunday 10/14/12, 5 days later, and I have yet to experience any pain or “mild discomfort”. I had no light sensitivity the first 2 days but a little these past few. The halos I had after have almost completely disappeared but I still see the starbursts. I have not taken one pain pill since my surgery. Now, tomorrow I am supposed to get these bandage contacts out and am praying my cycle of no pain continues. I have been able to see well ever since the day of surgery however things are just not as crisp as with my contacts or glasses but not really blurry. I take my eye drops along with Vitamin C and Lutein supplements eat plenty of fruit and just pray for the best. Its only been 5 days, so right now it’s easy to be patient while my eyes heal.

      • I am scheduled to have this surgery on November 29 on both eyes. I don’t know if this is a wise decision after reading everyone’s response. Is it possible to “gut it out” if I have a support team to help me.

  6. I just had PRK on Nov 19th. I had pain right after the surgery and thats it. No light sensitivity at all the first week, I walked in the next day and the dr. was in awe because I wasnt wearing sunglasses, nor in ay pain. It might because I heal quick and am young. My vision did get really blurry so I couldn’t see what I was eating for Thanksgiving. Ever since they took out the contact bandages off, the vision has been getting better. It is really annoying right now because it is not clear looking at the computer or driving. This is the worst part, not seeing clearly. I have my two week appt this friday so we will see how I am doing.

  7. The second day afterwards was awful for me. I could barely open my eyes and even the light from the led from my computer which i keep on all the time had to be taped so i couldn’t see it. It was later found that the contact lens in my left eye had fallen out but i couldn’t open my eye long enough to check it at the time. I’m pretty sure this had something to do with the intense pain as it was more prevalent in the left eye.
    Right now i’m 4 weeks in and I can supposedly see 20/20 in the left eye and 20/15 in the right according to the chart. I still feel like I could see better with my glasses before the sugery as things aren’t quite in focus. Hopefully my story turns out as successful as the one depicted here. So far it seems to be worth it as i see much better then when i started.

  8. when can you start doing mma again after prk? I had just did my park this past saturday and just recently join BJJ school. I really want to attend my classes/

    • It might be three months before your vision returns to normal and your eyes are fully healed. I’d recommend you wait at least that long. They’re your eyes and you’re going to have to live with them the rest of your life, so take care!

  9. I am in sales and must be driving by day 5 or my boss will have my head. Dare I proceed with surgery. They told me only 4 days w/o driving. I’m only getting one eye done. Thoughts?

    • If it is your lead eye I would not risk it. I had PRK for 2.5 astigmatism last Sept. it was NOT on my lead eye and I could not have driven three days later but then each person reacts differently.

      I found that it took many weeks to heal. Seven months later I still have star bursts in my left eye which have an adverse affect on night driving. I did not have PRK on my right eye.

  10. Day 0 evening and Day 1 before the recheck by doctor is my worst. Had all pains described by others and sensitivity to light.

    Worse yet, my contact dropped for my left eye. I cannot open my left eye at all. My right eye is better with much less pain. I had to say to myself constantly “no pain no gain” to get through the evening.

    On day 1 recheck by doctor, after numbing drop, left eye contact len finally came in. I immediately felt much less pain. Afterwards, I only had itchy feeling ever since.

    Vision is very blurry and sensitivity to light remains.

  11. I had PRK done yesterday afternoon. I do mma and bjj too but would have had lasik if I could have….I’m just not at a point where I’m fighting competitively anymore……however I have anterior basement membrane dystrophy and the doc said this would be the way to go.
    last night was uncomfortable but not too bad. this morning it’s the light sensitivity more than anything that is a bother. I only had one eye done and was able to drive and train jiu jitsu this morning. I have the follow up later today….it’s too bad it sounds like this will get worse before getting better. it’s not too bad right now.
    these blogs have been a big help for me…thank you for posting and for all the replies

  12. Oh man, I wish I was given Valium. Or anything. They only applied a local anaesthetic on me, so the jaws, the solvent and the brush weren’t fun at all. Still, they were by far the most fun part of day 1. All I was given for pain was one (1) Ibuprofen and then a Stilnox for sleep. “Can’t be too bad then,” I thought. I thought wrong. After 15 minutes or so, the anaesthetic started wearing off and a feeling started settling in. Started out as a weak twinging/stinging feeling and gradually turned into something I imagine having a rusty sawblade run across your eyeballs every five seconds would feel like. My brother dragged me home with frequent stops to uncurl me from the fetal position I seemed to prefer over walking, and once back home, I started alternating between trying to crawl the walls and reverting to the fetal position. Fortunately my family eventually managed to get their hands on some more potent pain medication as well as some sleeping pills and finally put me out of my misery. So yeah, “mild to moderate post-op discomfort” my ass, doctor.

  13. My hubby just had his PRK tonight at around 7:00 pm. He is in a lot of pain and his eyes and nose are watering constantly. He has taken 10mg valium. 5 mg oxycodone 2 Benadryl, 4 ibuprofen, and 10mg of Seroquel and he’s still writhing in pain and discomfort. While I am happy that he possibly won’t need to worry about contacts or glasses anymore after this, I wonder if it’s really worth it?

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