Thursday, January 26, 2012

PRK Surgery Tomorrow!

15 days ago, I stopped wearing contacts, and went back to my adorable, but not so comfortable, glasses.

I have been wanting LASIK eye surgery for about 6 years now. My prescription continued to change throughout college, so I wasn't a candidate. Well, my prescription hasn't changed in a couple of years. I went to the optometrist for my annual exam at the end of last year and decided I am going to do this!!!!

Since my car will be paid off entirely in a couple of months, I can AFFORD this surgery (I am using Care Credit for financing and that allows me to pay 30% down and pay the rest off, interest free, for a year)! Financially, it is a smart move, because my job does not cover dental or vision, and my vision costs are very expensive. Contacts, contact solution, and annual exams, WITHOUT help from insurance adds up QUICKLY! I think this surgery will pay for itself within a couple of years.

I went on Monday for testing with my optometrist, and I had an interesting time getting dilated!!!! They do the tests the first time without any alterations, and the second time after you've been dilated, to make sure you can see in different settings after the surgery. I've never been dilated before, and it was strange. The natural light was so bright I had to wear a removable shade in my glasses. I wasn't technically legal to drive home after my appointment (mainly because I discovered my glasses prescription is so old, I'm only seeing 20/80 or so with them on!), but I managed!

That is one large pupil! Hardly any brown left! Freaky.

My sweet unibrow-shade-in-the-glasses
Well, today, I went to the opthamologist's office. I just want to throw it out there that my surgeon went to OU Medical School, and I literally feel like I can trust him more because of that. That might be dumb, but on top of it being a prestigious program, I thought it was a great sign. I work in surgery, so I know first hand it's easy to look at the patient's specific concern and forget who the patient is. I told him I went to OU Nursing School and we talked about Norman for a bit.

After establishing trust with him, he told me he would recommend PRK over LASIK surgery tomorrow. I was caught off guard, but eager to hear his reasoning.

This chart outlines the differences between LASIK eye surgery and PRK eye surgery.

Basically, my corneas are not too thin to do LASIK, but he's a conservative surgeon, and told me there was a little bit of risk because my corneas are slightly thinner than average. I wish it could have been my thighs he was talking about, but nonetheless, he said LASIK could leave me disappointed long-term. My eyes might weaken back to how they are now in 10 years. With PRK, I'll have long-term results. Until I need glasses to read up close (which I shouldn't have to worry about for a good 25 years), I should be good to go!

The downside? The recovery. With LASIK I would have been able to see close to 20/20 the next day. I would have been able to go back to work on Monday (as I had planned!). With PRK I won't be able to drive or work until THURSDAY. They told me to anticipate feeling sandy, gritty, and not seeing very well at all for a few DAYS.

What's ridiculous is how my list of "lazy things I'll get to do" quickly shortened. Catch up on my DVR? Nope. Read? Nope. Go outside? Nope. Not unless I wear light-blocking GOGGLES. Run errands? Nope. I even drew out charts with my medications and instructions, as well as addresses for my post-operative appointments and phone numbers, because I'll be completely helpless! I thought that would help George out while he plays nurse. Ha. One thing though that I am keeping in mind, is this is elective surgery. I work in elective surgery. We tell our patients to anticipate the worst, and if they heal more quickly, they get excited. If they heal more slowly, they don't freak out. Basically, if they're telling me it will be 6 weeks before I see my best, I figure that means the LEAST healthy person took 6 weeks. And I'm young, healthy, and a good patient. So I hope I'll be able to at least catch The View this week at 10, LIVE, for a change. We will see. Wait. No pun intended... I'll at least listen!!!!

Pain Pill, Nausea Pill (MY request since I've never taken hydrocodone and I know people get sick on that a lot!), Antibiotic eye drop, Steroid eye drop, and Steroid dose pack. 

I tried to make it easy for George.

Yes, I suffer a mild case of OCD.

They told me to be patient, because it can take up to 6 weeks for my eyes to fully heal, and for me to see close to 20/20. And there's always the risk I won't see 20/20. My optometrist told me she's 99% sure I'll see 20/20 out of my right eye, and 90% sure I'll see 20/20 out of my left, but even if I don't, it will be better than I am seeing with my contacts now. I have astigmatism in my left eye, and can't see out of my contact about 80% of the time. It's weighted, and never sits right on my eye. It also gets extremely dry and "sandy" (I'm going to hit myself for comparing that discomfort to the pain I'll experience this time tomorrow!) every night by 7:00 or so. Contacts just weren't cutting it for my left eye!

Price-wise, I'm paying $3600, and that includes all testing, all appointments, and any necessary revisions (which is a good question to ask because this is commonly performed, and usually patients are charged for the revision). This did NOT include prescriptions. Those prices will vary based on each individual's insurance. My insurance sucks. Sorry to be frank, but it's true. Thankfully, I have an HSA, and I can use that to cover prescriptions. I paid $140.68 in prescriptions. Once I can see well enough to blog (and I'm allowed to look at a computer screen...I hear that's bad right after surgery), I'll update with photos and info in case anybody out there in the world wide web is interested in this procedure!!!!!!

All in all, I'm excited. I'm glad I'm finally doing it! It feels good to have a goal and finally reach out and get it. I just hope the next 6 weeks go by fast!


  1. Good luck- let me know if George needs a break or you need anything- by the way, judging by your wisdom teeth removal I would say your being a "good patient" IS debatable...! But I still love you!

  2. Well good luck for that! All PRK and Lasik are the same but a slight different. Lasik Surgeon In San Diego Dr. Michael Tracy says LASIK is generally a pain-free procedure, although patients may feel a lot of pressure during the procedure and there may be some discomfort and foreign body sensation in the eye for about two days. PRK recovery is usually very rapid, about one to two days.Usually the recovery time for PRK is slightly longer than LASIK, about 3-7 days. The PRK procedure itself is painless, and medications will be prescribed for any potential pain after the procedure. In both LASIK and PRK, it may take up to 6 months for the vision to completely stabilize, depending on your age, the size of your treatment, whether the treatment was for myopia or hyperopia, and your individual healing rate. So take care and do well. Thanks.

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