When I was in 6th grade or 5th or 4th… I can’t exactly remember. But one of those year I got glasses. I do remember that my dad took me to the mall to pick out a pair and I’m pretty sure I got McDonalds. Clearly I picked the best pair the store had, which were a pair of round, wire frames. Then around ninth grade I got contacts and never looked back. I wore them about 95% of the time, wearing my glasses at night.
The point is, I’ve have some form of vision correcting eyewear since elementary school. So after I had Brecken, I started thinking about LASIK eye surgery. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to wake up and see?!?
HOW DID YOU PICK WHERE YOU GOT YOUR EYE SURGERY DONE?
I didn’t know anyone who had eye surgery here in the Springs when I first started looking into it, so I just google LASIK and started calling offices. I wanted to know what their process was for getting LASIK, how much it cost and what that covered, and if I would be able to coordinate this happening around the little window that I had.
Go with your gut. I was all set up to go with this one practice, even though initially I felt like I was the one doing all the leg work to get myself in the door. I had to keep calling back to see if the calendar was up yet; I had to asked all the questions. But, I loved their website so…. Eventually, I just didn’t have a great feeling about it so I proceeded with another practice that was just more on top of it, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice! I’ve since met severally people who had their eye surgery done at that first practice, and it was a great experience for them. I just don’t think it was the right choice for me.
WHY DID YOU END UP DOING PRK INSTEAD OF LASIK?
I was a candidate for both LASIK and PRK. If you don’t know the difference, this explains it well:
“With PRK, your eye surgeon takes away the top layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium. Your surgeon then uses lasers to reshape the other layers of the cornea and fix any irregular curvature in your eye.
With LASIK, your eye surgeon uses lasers or a tiny blade to create a small flap in your cornea. This flap is raised up, and your surgeon then uses lasers to reshape the cornea. The flap is lowered back down after the surgery is complete…”
So while I was a candidate for both LASIK and PRK, I did have a tiny bump on the inner part of my eye (it was not touching or protruding on the outside) and LASIK would have given me a slightly higher risk for that bump to someday push on the outer eye causing me to wear a hard contact and have a real funky prescription. The risk of that happening was lower with PRK, so I chose it.
WHAT WAS THE ACTUAL SURGERY LIKE?
The surgery itself took less than 2 minutes, and it was actually kinda cool. The laser had this ‘tracking device’ which locked onto my cornea! Right?!? The laser portion lasted about 30 seconds on each eye, and again, I felt nothing. After the first eye was done, I definitely breathed a bit easier because I now knew was to expect – and it really was pretty easy.
About 30 minutes before the surgery I took a valium. They also put several drops in my eyes (I have no idea what they were) but by the time the surgery started, I felt absolutely nothing in my eyes.
FOR REAL, HOW BAD WAS THE RECOVERY?
LASIK is a good 24 hour turnaround, or so I hear. For about 24 hours your eyes are sore – pretty sore – and you need to rest them. And then after those 24 hours it’s like you have great vision and never look back.
PRK comes with a five day downtime, which I knew going into it. Because of how they do the surgery, you have wear a bandage contact over your eyes for a week. And you’re eyes definitely take longer than 24 hours to heal – read it will still feel like someone rubbed jalapeños in your eyes on day three – but by day five, there isn’t any pain. I was sent home with a couple pain pills to help manage the pain, but after day three, the only thing I needed were eye drops. I probably put eye drops in my eyes about every ten minutes just due to the dryness of my eyes. But it wasn’t painful.
Sensitivity to light was also a big thing – both sunlight and all other kinds of light – and I occasionally wore sunglasses inside for those first few weeks.
I did, also, sleep in those goggles T Swift had on for a good week to prevent myself from accidentally rubbing my eyes.
ARE YOU TOTALLY HEALED?
Truth be told, I don’t know. But at my one month post-op check up, I had GREAT vision. I still am using steroid drops in my eyes, so while that helps to keep my eyes from getting infected, it also delays the healing process. I also did have an astigmatism in one of my eyes, and that definitely took longer to catch up to my non-astigmatism eye.
WHEN DID YOU START HAVING CLEAR VISION?
During that first week, for minutes I would have sneak peaks of awesome vision. And then it just went blurry, fuzzy…just not clear. And it stayed that way for daaaays.
I was not prepared for that.
I’m sure someone told me that, realistically, it could take up to six month for my eyes to heal = my vision stay clear, but I didn’t h e a r that part. And while the pain the first few days was bad, there’s medicine for that. There is nothing you can do or wear while you are waiting for your eyes to heal. It was frustrating.
But then, like something magical, right before my one month post-op, my vision cleared. And it was awesome! I had heard from other PRK clients that it generally took them 2 weeks to a month to have pretty stable, constant, clear vision, but you don’t totally believe it’s going to happen until it does. I 100% had my doubts.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
Yes and yes. In the past few weeks, I’ve caught myself getting ready for bed and mentally going “Wash my face. I can see so I still need to take my contacts out…. wait. WAIT!” And waking up in the morning and being able to SEE Brecken come strolling in the room to tell us ‘it’s mornin and I want breakfast”…
I would totally say it’s worth it. I can see without having to put on glasses or contacts… For most of my life I haven’t experienced waking up and being able to see around a room clearly, and now I can. It has been the best thing I have done for myself. I am incredibly grateful that we invested in this process.
It had been a wish of mine to get LASIK (PRK) for years and I am SO grateful that it became a reality this year. It was worth the investment, worth the pain, worth the weeks of blurry vision. I may have chosen the harder of the two surgeries, but I hope in the long run, it was the one that hopefully will keep me from needing anything other than reading glasses.