Nugget61's PRK Process

Discussion in 'PRK' started by nugget61, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. nugget61

    nugget61 Active Member None

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    Hey, there are a few of these on AW already, however I feel that there can’t be enough info out there for folks looking to go under the laser – so here’s a log of my experience. I’m trying to write this from a complete beginner’s standpoint, so please overlook the explanations if they are unnecessary for you.

    **Disclaimer – I’m not a doc, so take this as you may. And stuff changes over time, so this could become outdated in the future. Also note that since I have just undergone the surgery (20NOV2008); I DO NOT yet have a waiver. **


    **Note: If you have questions, feel free to PM me with them, but if you can, keep them in this thread so that anyone can benefit from it. If I left something out that you want to know about, just tell me and I’ll add it in a later post**


    Background Info:
    I was professionally recommended (pro-rec’ed) in the Oct 08 boards, and went to medical (MEPS) afterwards. I was been tested at 20/40 distance only to find out that you can’t squint when you take the test. They passed me, but I knew that I would be not physically qualified (NPQ) when I went to get my flight physical at NAMI. The OR was trying to push me to take an naval flight officer (NFO, backseater) position, although I only applied for pilot (SNA). From what I understand, getting a lateral transfer from one position to another is really difficult, so it’s best to join the Navy with a ticket to do what you want to begin with.
    Knowing this, I decided to go out and get a consult from an eye doc. I found out at that point that I was 20/70R and 20/100L, (-1.25 each) however I was only 20/50 with both. Because the waiver guide says that you have to be 20/40 uncorrected (no glasses/contacts/anything), with correction to 20/20 (glasses, contacts, PRK), I knew that I couldn’t pass a flight physical.
    As I understand it, you cannot get PRK once you have signed a final select letter, as you belong to the Navy at that point. And there’s not typically enough time from the completion of OCS to the time that you get a flight physical to get it done then (and have the Nay pay for it), so I had to get it done now. If it takes, it’ll be well worth the price to me.
    With regards to my pro-rec, I have heard of people that were able to hold onto their pro-rec during the healing period, and those that lost it and had to re-apply. My OR is under the impression that I will lose it. If that’s the case, so be it, I can reapply. Losing 3 months now is way better than a few years before I could transfer jobs.
    ea6bflyr likes this.
  2. nugget61

    nugget61 Active Member None

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    Day of Surgery (Day 0):
    Report time was 1415, and we were told we would be there for ~2 hours. You have to have a driver to get you home – I was seeing alright, however as part of the healing process you have to have your eyes closed for the 6 hours immediately following the surgery.
    So after I got there and paid (you have to pay before services, which for those interested, was $2,150 per eye)they brought me back into the pre-op area. There I was given a pill form of a valium derivative, and about a dozen eye drops –a ton of numbing drops, one to reduce inflammation, one to reduce redness and one antibiotic, all in each eye as I was having them both done at the same time.
    They had me sit for about 10 or 15 minutes before I went into the operation room to let the drugs take effect and then it was go time.

    As for the surgery itself – they lay you down on a table and the laser is in a case beside you with the optical piece above your face (the laser looks like a large desktop computer tower on steroids) and the optical piece looked a lot like one of the claws from those arcade games where you try to drop it right on a prize but never can win. Anyway, once I was situated the doctor (henceforth Dr P) gave me another drop (I have no idea what it was for) and we were off. He put in some eye spreaders to keep me from blinking and then used a tool that I’m pretty sure was an electric toothbrush to get rid of any loose epithelial cells on the eye. Once this was done he used two small tools to literally brush away the rest of the epithelial cells – one looked like a Q-tip with a pointed wedge tip and the other looked like a small dental pick. Once he had me primed, I was to look into this apparatus that housed the laser. Looking into it, I felt like I was on midfield at a football game, looking up into the lights. They had 4 large banks of white LEDs with a flashing green light in the middle and 4 dim red lights between all of the white LEDs. I was to stare at the green light, though once he started messing with my eyes everything got blurry and hard to follow/focus. Anyway, he eventually stopped playing with my eye and set off the laser, which made everything purple (and I swear it smelled like he was cauterizing skin), however there was no pain from in (only a good bit of pressure from the eye spreaders). The other eye was the same, we had a quick post op and I went home.

    As for my vision, it was really hard for me to initially see an increase – my vision wasn’t that bad, so unfortunately I didn’t have one of those ‘oh wow’ moments when I got out.

    As I said, when you get out you have to have your eyes closed for 6 hours = nap time. The valium-drug was hitting me so I was out for 7. It was great.

    Meds:
    They have me on a whole bunch of drugs, so for those of you interested:
    Vision blend of Fish Oil – About 2000mg fish oil daily
    Neurontin – (Spelling might be off) 3x daily for 4 days (Pain/antibiotic as I understand)
    Refresh Plus – Artificial tears 4x daily + as needed – I’m taking hits of this stuff like it’s crack
    Acular LS – 4x daily. No idea what it does
    FML (Fluoromentholone opthalic suspension) – 4x daily. Steriod
    Zymar – 4x daily. Again, either the steroid or antibiotic
    Tetracaine – Only as needed – major pain killer, but it slows the healing process

    That pretty much finished off the operation day (I’m writing this on day 1, sorry if there are tense errors).
  3. nugget61

    nugget61 Active Member None

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    Day 1
    Woke up this morning terribly dry, so I added some tears myself. Apparently that was no t the thing to do, as my left eye felt like it was in a torque wrench; however my right was alright. I thought I had flipped a contact, and was unable to even pry my own eye open and give myself more drops. Had to have mom give me some drops while I held my eye open and that coupled with a cold wash cloth helped a ton. And I must say, a cold wash cloth does wonders for the pain. Try it.

    Went in for the one day checkup with Dr P – he checked the contacts and said I just had a severely dry eye, so flooding it with the artificial tears was the thing to do. Next I got to read the eye chart – 20/30 left and right, 20/25 combined. Woo, passing! That will, however get better over time (especially after I get rid of these damn protective contacts!) as I’m told. I do have a bit of glaring, even on the dim little power light on my laptop. I’ve read that days 2-4 are the worst, so I’ll keep you updated.

    Spent most of the day laying down, mostly listening to movies. My reading vision is currently poor and the laptop screen is a tad too bright for me, but that is all as I expected.
  4. exo

    exo Member

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    Good luck with your surgery nugget. I had it done in February. Just remember, it's one thing hearing the doc say your vision will fluctuate a lot while it heals ,and it's quite another thing to see you vision get better then deteriorate and you thinking to yourself 'Shit! Now i"m not going to be able to fly!" Chances are everything will go well. Just take it easy, keep them lubricated, and what I found was, you'll wake up with really really dry eyes sometimes. so much so that your eyes will stick to your eye lids sometimes and when you first wake up and open up your eyes, it can actually tear parts of your eye and hurt like crazy. Best thing to do is keep your eyes clsoed when you wake up and slowly move your eyes around, try to get them moist before opening your eyes.

    Good luck with the healing, it's a long process, but definitely worth it.
  5. McBuff

    McBuff Sees the light

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    I'll make this so you can read it :p.

    Enjoy day two, it's a blast but it gets better. I'm about 90 days post op now and 20/15 in both eyes. Aside from being eligible for SNA, this is by far the best thing I've ever bought myself. Working, swimming, sports etc will all be so much more pleasurable in just a few weeks. Also +1000 to what exo said about forcing your eyes open when they're dry. That shit hurts bigtime. Also keep like 4 wet towels in the freezer at any given time, it works wonders. Good luck in the next couple days, those contacts will be out before you know it.
  6. grant_davis

    grant_davis New Member

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    I have my first meeting up at Emory on the 10th.. Thanks for the info good luck healing!
  7. theblakeness

    theblakeness Charlie dont surf! None

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    Congrats and good luck to all that are about to go under the knife. I am just shy of 1 year post op and I love it. Seeing 20/15 with only some slightly dry eyes occasionally in the morning when I first wake up. Hands down, the best investment to date.
  8. nugget61

    nugget61 Active Member None

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    @ exo - Thanks for the advise - I now have some of the tears drops near my bed and im going to try to put a few drops in while I'm working my eyes open this coming morning to see if it helps, hopefully it will.

    @ mcbuff - lol, thanks man. I'm actually seeing doubles right now so that helped more than you know, ha. I have a washcloth in the freezer and they gave me two of those refreezable packs - kinda look like small breast implants but they're perfect size to hlep.


    @ grant - good luck man, i'll be updating this so you have an idea of what to expect.

    @ blake - that's awesome, and exactly what I'm hoping for.


    Mini-update, night of day 1:
    Started seeing doubles this evening and got more and more light sensitive as the night went on - actually typing this with my eyes closed and checking every few lines for typos. pain is more annoying that painful, but its the contacts - for anyone considering the surgery, its just like when you leave dirty contacts in too long. Coming out this wednesday and that can't be soon enough for me.
  9. Junkball

    Junkball "I believe in ammunition" None

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    Hope it's getting better, nugget. Keep us posted... I think I'm gonna feel your pain soon.
  10. nugget61

    nugget61 Active Member None

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    Day 2 (end of day):
    The double vision from last night is (gone - I think it was a byproduct of the sucky contacts and extreme exhaustion. I paid attention for it tonight but it never happened.
    As it stands now:
    Near vision sucks: from a sitting distance I can't even begin to make out the text on my screen (I have to be about 4 inches away, and even then its blurry as hell) and even the keys are blurry. I didn't read any accounts of this, so I'm getting kinda worried about it. I hope its just part of the healing process that I'm experiencing.

    This morning I wet my eyelids on the crack with the tear drops I have and worked my eyes around before I opened them - worked perfectly, no problems whatsoever - thanks for that yall!
    Did accidentally pop one contact out while massaging an eyeball with an icepack - felt glorious to have it out and my vision seemed ok with it and luckily it fell onto my fingernail. Popped it right back in and flooded it with the tears as per the docs orders and it worked fine. Dry contact pain and all, but that was expected. Luckily I didn't have to go back into the docs - if it had fallen on the floor that would have been the case - too many germs.
    Light sensitivity has set in today with a vengence - had to wear my steevie wonder glasses with my regular sunglasses under them with the tv brightness all the way down just to watch my Cards get smashed by WVa... dang.
    Distance acuity is down today (as per my reading of the posters across the room), however that is expected.

    You already had your consult, right junk? Howd it go?
  11. theblakeness

    theblakeness Charlie dont surf! None

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    I know its easier said than done, but getting lots of sleep at this stage is pretty crucial. It will really help your epithelium heal back quickly and it will make the days go by faster. My Doc didnt even perscribe me pain meds just some sleeping pills. Stay motivated, and dont let any little things scare you. Everybodys PRK experience is different.
  12. burningfeathers

    burningfeathers Reading the grout jokes

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    I'm about 1.5 years post op and still seeing 20/10 in both eyes. Like the rest of you I think the surgery was the best investment I ever made but I will say that it is not a cure all. When I came to P-cola I ended up getting wammyed to SNFO because of excessive phoria in my eyes....there's no magic surgery for that, so now I'm a NFO with absolutely perfect vision.
    Anyway to those recovering from surgery enjoy the feeling of smoke in your eyes for about the next three weeks, the discomfort disapeared for me after that time. But during workouts/runs I noticed that my eyes we're always the first thing to become dehydrated for about 2.5 months post op so push water just a little harder during that time and always keep those moisurizing drops close at hand, they're life savers.
  13. McBuff

    McBuff Sees the light

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    Don't sweat it, that happened to me. It will probably still be there when the contacts come out but a few days later, it's gone. Just remember that there is basically a scab across your eye and it has to heal.
  14. DavidC

    DavidC New Member

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    Thanks for the writeup. Going in for my consultation next week and if all goes well I've got the operation scheduled for the 4th. Then of course waiting to hear if I get the waiver.
  15. ea6bflyr

    ea6bflyr Working Class Bum None

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    Nugget,
    Great thread. Stuck for future reference. Keep on logging your progress.
    -ea6bflyr ;)

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