My Eye Surgery Experience – Part 2
Thanks for all of your comments and questions on last week’s Part 1 post. I know a lot of you are thinking about the surgery or just had it, so hang in there (or, if you haven’t done it yet, DO it!). It’s worth all that you go through, I promise.
So onto recovery…
Thursday – surgery day:
I felt fine right after surgery. I was still super numb. My eyes were a little watery, but I wore the shades which helped, as part of that wateriness will be because they are so light sensitive (and, in an entirely uncharacteristic way, Vancouver chose that day to be particularly sunny).
I went home and the first thing I did when I walked through the door?
Donned my cool surgery shades, my sleep mask and grabbed a green smoothie. I was starving and wiped, and the green smoothie was just what I needed to replenish my system (plus I wanted to pump some vitamins in and get that healing going!).
So after drinking my green smoothie, I slept a little because the two sedatives I had taken had wiped me out, and mainly just lay around listening to music or audiobooks.
Friday – Day 1 after surgery
The photo below was taken the morning after my surgery, when I was headed back to the surgeon’s office for my 24-hour check-up (they check you the day after just to see how your first 24 hours are going).
I was rockin’ the cool shades.
These are the shades they give you to take away with you and you will need them, because light sensitivity is a big factor in this recovery process, let me tell you! However, I’m getting ahead of myself.
My 24-hour appointment (on a Friday) was great. I was feeling fine, to be honest. They asked me to look at an eye chart, which was completely pointless, as my vision was still really blurry. They said that was to be expected (though I asked for extra numbing drops, because I had read on a blog I would need them by Day 2 – the next day. I am SO glad I asked for these! They don’t give you enough on the day of surgery, trust me. ASK FOR MORE!).
Saturday – Day 2 after surgery
This was when things started to get kinda bad. The light sensitivity was so unbearable today that I spent the whole day in my bathroom (the only room in our apartment with no windows), lying down on one of our balcony’s zero-gravity loungers (the only chair I could fit in the bathroom that was comfortable!).
This is a shot I took with my phone to take part in the April Photo-a-Day Challenge, because darn it I am determined when on a challenge!
Yes, this is also about as well as I could see, seeing as I actually thought this photo was in focus:
You can see my recovery kit there: tissues (my eyes were watering a lot), eyedrops, water and audio books.
I was taking Tetracaine (the numbing eyedrops) as often as I could, but there is a maximum number of times a day you can take them, so I was enduring some pain in the in-between stages. This was not a fun day.
Sunday – Day 3 after surgery
I was still relying heavily on the numbing drops, and I was using sedatives to keep me asleep through the night (my surgeon gave me a pack of about 4 of them to use for the four nights following surgery).
I was, however, able to leave my bathroom’s darkness! However, my lounge is so bright that I did spend most of the day buried under a blanket.
Bill, one of my cats, loves to sit on laps that have blankets on. However, when I covered my head with the blanket he misjudged where my lap was and ended up nearly on my face…
I’m turning my head to the side because, despite Bill being friendly and me having those huge protective sunglasses on, I was still really wary of anything getting in my eyes!
Monday – Day 4 after surgery
Things started to feel much better by today. I still didn’t get out of my PJs (baby steps, people), but I was able to be in a bright room (with my shades on, of course) and not be in tons of pain. I didn’t need to use the numbing drops very often at all today. My eyesight still wasn’t great, but I had read enough blogs before going into surgery to know not to be freaked out about this.
I have spoken to a few people who emailed me after last week’s post who had just had PRK done and that is the number one thing I heard: “I’m really worried because x number of days has passed since my surgery and I still can’t see well”.
PLEASE don’t worry. This is really normal! Just be patient, I promise it clears up.
I spent Monday rocking my Annie Lennox look (I can’t tell you how great the day was that I threw those shades away!)…
Days 5 – present
I won’t bother doing a day-to-day account of the following days. Progress was made – I DID get out of my PJs, start going for walks outside etc. I could see ‘functionally’ by the time I had my 6-day contact lens removal on Wednesday, when they remove your bandage contact lenses. NOTE: Ask to be numbed for this. Once numbed, it felt like a strand of hair being whipped through your eye very quickly – not painful, just a slight tickle.
However, after contacts are removed, because it’s now just the surface of your eye that has regrown and is kinda bumpy, you will feel a bit irritated again. Not nearly as bad as at the beginning but you’ll feel like it sets you back a couple of days. It can also make your eyesight slightly blurry again. Not to worry – this passed by Friday, just two days later.
That weekend I went to Calgary for my sister’s baby shower, and here I am on the Sunday, exactly 10 days after surgery, at the shower:
I still couldn’t read the place cards (reading up close was the last thing to come into focus), but otherwise my vision was totally functional.
This was my first day wearing eye make-up since the surgery. They say wait a week – I waited 10 days. Good thing too because, as luck would have it, I stabbed myself in the eye with my mascara wand that morning.
Geesh, did that ever hurt. Way more than before. But I blinked and put some artificial tears in and all was okay. Not that I would recommend trying that at home.
On my 4-week post-surgery check-up on 25 May, I still had to flick to the bigger eye chart to read the letters. My next check-up isn’t until August (3-month check-up) and then I’ll have a final one 6 months after surgery, in October. They say with PRK it can take up to 6 months to get the full clarity of vision that you will end up with.
I still have to have my computer screen blown up larger than I used to, but to be honest I think that’s good for your eyes as you’re not straining, so I will probably keep it that way. I can now read it smaller if I have to but I feel like I’m straining, which I hate.
I put tears in maybe three or four times a day, out of habit. I wake up with pretty dry eyes but other than that they may be dry but I don’t really notice it.
The reason I put tears in is because it makes my vision really super sharp for about 10-15 seconds right after putting them in. The doctor told me that is how my vision will end up, which is super exciting, as it’s better than my vision ever was even with contacts!
Maybe I’ll do a final round-up post once six months have passed, but I assure you, you should get this done if you have poor eyesight. I am super happy with the results and I don’t even have 100% of my vision yet (though I definitely have, like 95% at least!).
So my main pointers for post-surgery?
- Numbing drops: Ask for more when you go back to your surgeon’s the next day. You WILL need them!
- Sleep mask: Invest in one. And wear the shades they give you!
- Entertainment: Borrow some audiobooks from the library and update your iPod!
- Supplements: I got my naturopath to put me on supplements that promote healing before the surgery. You may or may not believe in supplements but the reason everyone has such different healing times after PRK is because everyone’s body heals and grows at different rates – and your healing from PRK is linked to how quickly that outer layer of your eye grows back. I was on a hefty regimen of Vitamin C, Bromelain, Vitamin E (discontinued a few days before surgery), arnica and extra protein, fruit and veg in my diet for the period leading up to surgery and recovering afterwards. See your naturopath for advice for yourself, or if you want more details on my supplement process email me!
- If you have anymore questions at all about the surgery, please do email me. I’d be happy to help!