My Recovery From PRK Surgery

By | June 11, 2009

The days following my PRK eye surgery have been very frustrating. I knew that after the surgery my eye sight would come and go, there would be waves of pain and discomfort but I never imagined I would be without clear vision for several days in a row.

Even though you know that this is ‘how it is supposed to be’ there is still something aggravating about not having any vision improvements. I have started writing this four days after the surgery and even though the resolution on the laptop has been set to “Grandparent” I can see what I am typing, which is a big improvement and the first time I could accomplish this since the surgery.

Now that I have a chance to share my word, where do I begin? The surgery part was over in a matter of minutes. Every person had talked about how fast it would be, but I had no idea it would be that fast. I will back it up a step however.

Surgery Day
With the PRK procedure the cornea is removed prior to the laser and during this I could see the doctor scrape and brush my cornea away. It was like looking through saran wrap with someone using a paint brush with milky paint to obstruct your vision. It was a good thing I was sedated with Ativan, Tylenol 3 and several rounds of numbing eye drops because that would have been very uncomfortable to sit through otherwise.

The laser part of the surgery was not as strange but still intense. For something so advanced and high tech I expected it to last longer or require a little more effort but I guess that would defeat the purpose of it being advanced.

It took me longer to read my post op sheet given to be me before the procedure than my time in the reclining chair under the laser. The next few days were a blur, both literal and figurative. I slept a lot. It was not uncommon for me to have a several hour nap during the day and then sleep for nine or ten hours at night. I could not watch TV so I would listen to music in a dark room or progress through my Harry Potter audio book.

Recovery Process
The pain was never outrageous, but a Tylenol 3 and a cold pack of peas were always able to sort things out. Friday (two days after the surgery) was supposed to be the most painful day but I found that I was most blind on this day. Things held inches away from my face were still blurry and I had to squint, tilt my head or obstruct my vision with fingers to make letters out.

I would wake up most mornings able to see a photo on the dresser across the room clearly and think that everything was back to normal. Then as I went into a well lit room I was brought down to reality with a world of haze and blur.

Protective Lenses
The day I was to have my protective lenses removed I woke with a sharp and fierce pain in my left eye. No amount of blinking could make it stop. I did my regime of eye drops and the pain eventually subsided. I imagine the contact lens was out of place or sticking to something it shouldn’t.

In any case my appointment to remove the protective lenses later that day showed my cornea was healed fine and the lenses were no longer needed. The bliss I had on Sunday with good vision was brought down a notch as my world was blurry and fuzzy.

One Week Later
It has now been one week since the surgery and there have been mild improvements but they feel few and far between. I have been going through a fuzzy and out of focus world for four days since the protective lenses were removed and any time I think my vision is improving something else is out of focus.

I was cleared to drive a vehicle, but street signs from a distance would not be distinguishable. Until I feel a little more comfortable behind the wheel I will bike to work and get some exercise while I am at it.

As the recovery process goes on I shall post updates and hopefully be able to confidently stand by my decision for eye surgery.

Other posts about my PRK surgery and recovery can be found under the ‘eye surgery’ post tag here.

7 thoughts on “My Recovery From PRK Surgery

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  2. LRERS

    Hey Sean how’s everything so far? I’m on my 26th post-prk surg day and everything is still blurry except from whatever is between my eyes and 4-5 feet from them that is really sharp like when i used my corrective glasses. Last week my vision was 20/30 – 20/15 and 20/20 using both eyes but you know that is not really truth since everything is still blurry. The Doc says I’m fine and the expected results are already acomplished now is time to wait for the healing process to take place and clear things out for me… Let me know any update on you hope everything is ok.

  3. Sean Post author

    Thanks for the comment. Things with the eyes are going fine, I just posted another update. When things are going well and I do not have any vision concerns I find my updates about the surgery are fewer apart.

    Your situation does sound frustrating. After four weeks you would hope to have a little more stability with the eyes. I found that when I had concerns with my vision the surgeon had a very nonchalant/casual attitude about it, so I had to remind myself that if he wasn’t concerned about the slowness of my recovery then I wouldn’t be. When I read that the full effects of the PRK surgery aren’t known until three (or more) months after surgery I prepared myself for the long haul.

    Hang in there, I hope it works itself out for you and you will be able to see soon enough.

  4. Dan

    Hey guys,

    Im about to have PRK done net week, and suggestions?

  5. Sean Post author

    I think preparing for your recovery would be wise. Things like filling any prescriptions (perhaps ones given by your PRK surgeon) and gathering entertainment for your days of recovery is a good use of your time. Personally, I charged an old iPod and added audio books onto it. I wasn’t able to watch TV immediately following the surgery so I picked activities that weren’t visual.

    To help in your recovery buy peas to put in the freezer (to place them on your eyes when they are sore) or get any other groceries you may need for the time you’re locked away (if you live with someone else then this may not be that critical).

    As far as preparing for the surgery I found the procedure to be fairly quick. It’s only natural to be nervous leading up to the surgery but the medication should take the edge off and before you know it you’ll be out.

    Be patient and know it won’t be an immediate result so hang in there and good luck!

  6. Angela

    The PRK recovery process takes a little longer than with LASIK. Normally the surgeon would be to determine when we’ll need a retreatment. I did PRK about 3 weeks ago at ; And after PRK, my surgeon said that my vision should be pretty stable by about 3 months following my surgery, but fluctuations may continue to occur for up to a year. So we need to be patient with the healing process.

  7. Frey

    Hi Sean, thank you for telling me your experience, thanks to reading this I want to pay more attention to the health of my eyes, where I consult is the most comfortable because the doctor’s explanation is easy to understand. Congratulations on your new vision!

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