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PRK in Southern California- My Experience

m3urthy

Why don't you have a seat right over there.
#1
Before I even get into the meat of what I have to say, let me say this: PRK- Quit talking about getting it, and just do it. Pick up the phone and call your local reputed Dr. Eye Cutter MD OD and schedule at the very least a consult. I wish I had done this sooner.


06 May 2008- Decided to call my local TLC (Laser Eye Center, Fullerton, Ca) to schedule a consult. At this point, I really had no idea what to expect. What I did was just to play as dumb as possible, and ask every question I could possibly ask the poor scheduling girl talking to me. She assured me that my consultation for PRK was absolutely free(make sure you say PRK as many times as possible, PRK PRK PRK!!!!, because someone will eventually confuse you for a LASIK).

I scheduled my appointment for 0800 on 20 May. Not only did I get a confirmation call 48 hours before, but also one of those automatic Google Calendar notifications that went straight to my blackberry. So far, so good.



20 May 2008
- Walked in a few minutes early and was warmly greeted by the front receptionist. They gave me a portable DVD player with their promotional video about TLC Eye Care Centers and how they did Tiger Wood's eyes. After I finished watching, I was called back to meet with a nurse practitioner. She did a corneal thickness test and some other machine based tests (basically those put your chin/forehead here and look straight ahead machines).

I was advised that I would be a good candidate for PRK. At this point, I basically asked every question under the book including, "Could you explain to me what exactly PRK is?" Obviously, if you are reading this than you already know everything there is to know about the procedure. I asked and she answered. She also made sure I understood everything she told me.

The nurse then drilled down how things would progress:

Pre-op 2 weeks before.

Day of Surgery.

1 day Post-op

72 hour post-op (contact lens bandage removal)

1 week post-op

1 month post-op

so on....


She also notified me that I'd have a chance to meet the surgeon the morning of my surgery. No go for me. I made it known that I wanted to meet the guy cutting up my eyes before hand. Without hesitation, she scheduled in time with myself and the surgeon. My advice to you: if you don't feel comfortable with something, let be known and get it fixed.

Pricing- I was quoted 4200 for PRK. I have a really good PPO health plan through work, Blue Shield of CA, and had her see if I had any benefits I could use through that. Lo and behold, my insurance paid for a part of my surgery, leaving me with a grand total of $3790.


01 June 2008
- 2 week pre-op

This pre-op exam was done at my personal optometrist who happened to refer me to TLC. He did a baseline exam. I was at 20/60 20/80. He also dilated my pupils and took measurements with those. Same results. He also prescribed me Zymar, an anti-biotic drop that I had to purchase myself. I was told that this would be pricy and most insurances do not cover it. I paid $85 for 5ml at a CVS pharmacy in Huntington Beach, Ca. I was also prescribed Neurontin, taken orally, to help with nerve pain and make me feel more comfortable after the surgery. The generic version costed around $25 at a Wal-Mart pharmacy in Brea, Ca.


I was instructed to take the Zymar 4 times a day a day before the surgery. This is meant to pretty much clean your eyes. Think of it as an alcohol wipe before you get your shots.
 

m3urthy

Why don't you have a seat right over there.
#2
20 June 2008- Show Time!

Walked into the office, with my dad (my ride home). Upon checking in I was given a name tag to make it easier to approach fellow patients (they usually do a group of 5-10 people in the morning on Surgery days).

I also had to pay the bill before anything moved forward. I had, rather foolishly, saved up 4k for this over the past year. Ironically enough, I used Care Credit to finance my operation. They offered me 0% for 18 months. I applied for the loan online, about 2 weeks before the actual surgery date. I was approved instantly and received a card in the mail a few days later. All I had to do was give the receptionist my care credit card and sign for the charge. I can't believe how easy they've made it to take my money. :)

Once again I was asked to do the corneal thickness test. They also did a cone/cylinder tests and had a few discrepancies with what my optometrist had taken 2 weeks prior. I had the doctor do a few more tests and he found out that I had a larger astigmatism than had been previously prescribed for. What had happened for the past decade was that my regular optometrist never detected this and because he had prescribed me a higher power prescription, it went undetected, basically overcompensated for.

This was fixed, and accounted for, for the actual surgery.

After this, I was brought into a 'relaxation' room where I was given a Valium and 800 mg of Motrin. The area on my face around my eyes was cleaned and I was brought to the operation room.

My one comment to the nurses was "Morning ladies, am I the first PRK of the day?". They responded affirmative. This made me feel reassured, as I was the lone PRK in a sea of LASIK.

The doc came in, made a joke to put me at ease, and proceeded to speculum my eyes. I felt a blunt pressure after that. This was him taking off the tissue for the laser. Didn't hurt. Don't worry.

I was told to look straight into a flashing red light, and this is exactly what I did. A few moments later I felt/smelt/saw the laser doing its magic.

Repeat on the other eye. All in all this took roughly 10 minutes for both eyes.

After this I was free and clear to leave. I had all my pre-op instructions, as well as a few vicodins, and sleeping pills given to me. 2 steroidal drops were given to me. Pret Forte and FML.

I walked out with dark sunglasses and had my eyes closed. I basically passed out, and don't remember much after that.
 

m3urthy

Why don't you have a seat right over there.
#3
Aftermath


Unlike the experiences of many others, I did nor do not have any occurrences of dry or itchy eyes. I don't feel as if there is sand in my eye. I've been following the post-op instructions rather religiously and it really has paid off.

All I can say is that the steroidal drops give you a really really bitter taste in the back of your mouth. It really makes life unpleasant, but hey this is the worst for me, so I'm fortunate for that.

Within 72 Hours I had my bandage contact removed. No issues with that. I was advised to stop the Pret Forte and Zymar drops and just take the FML drops.

At my 1 week post-op, my regular optometrist could not believe that I even had PRK done the week prior. He said that I had completely healed and that there was no evidence that anything at all had happened to my eyes.

He then tested my vision: 20/15 both eyes. :)
 
#4
i'm in the same boat as you (bad eyesight) and want to get PRK so i can apply for sna. i had a question about PRK: can i get it before i apply ocs? i heard from the njrotc commander from my high school that it was disqualifying if you had it done without navy supervision. i'm assuming you researched this and was wondering if you could fill me in. after reading other posts on here i'm under the impression that it is okay to get it done privately before applying but wanted to check
 
#5
You need to understand the disqualifying(such as the size of your diopters or astigmatism if present) things that can still affect your eligibility even after you get the surgery successfully.

But you can get the surgery done beforehand. However, you are required to wait for 6 months or 1 year (not sure) to ensure that the surgery has gone well and your vision is not going to worsen.

Do a search on the forums. There is a whole thread for PRK info.
 

FDX

It's mind games!
#6
i'm in the same boat as you (bad eyesight) and want to get PRK so i can apply for sna. i had a question about PRK: can i get it before i apply ocs? i heard from the njrotc commander from my high school that it was disqualifying if you had it done without navy supervision. i'm assuming you researched this and was wondering if you could fill me in. after reading other posts on here i'm under the impression that it is okay to get it done privately before applying but wanted to check
You can get it before OCS without Navy supervision. If I remember correctly you can apply to OCS at 3 months post op. However, I believe you need at least 6 months of eye stability before a waiver will be granted.

The guidelines to pre/post op eligibility will be here: http://navmedmpte.med.navy.mil/nomi/nami/WaiverGuideTopics/pdfs/Waiver Guide - Ophthalmology.pdf

I printed them out and took them to my doctor at my initial consultation. MAKE sure you meet all of them. Also, make sure everything is documented. Meps and NOMI will want records of every single visit. There are also specific measurements that need to be done at pre/post op points. Those can be found in the above link. Other than that...search. There is information ad infinitum about the PRK process on here.
 
#8
Keith Liang, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, the National Board of Medical Examiners, and California State licensed. He is a leading Sacramento laser eye surgeon in LASIK, refractive surgery and cataract surgery. His specialty training started at the LSU Eye Center, one of the original FDA Clinical Trial sites, where he trained with Dr. Marguerite McDonald who performed the first laser vision correction procedure. This extensive four-year training allowed Dr. Liang to be an innovator of LASIK, PRK, and presbyopic lens implant in the Sacramento area. Due to his expertise in LASIK, he testified in front of the FDA Ophthalmic Panel in Washington, D.C., to support LASIK's approval. This pioneering work allowed LASIK to become the leading refractive procedure. Dr. Liang makes it a personal goal to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in eye care. He is one of only a few surgeons in the Sacramento area who can implant multiple types of presbyopic lenses, such as Crystalens, ReZoom and ReSTOR; this allows him to select the best fit for the patient and their lifestyle. Dr. Liang also offers alternative refractive procedures for patients who are not good candidates for laser vision correction, such as the Visian ICL and the Verisyse IOL. Because Dr. Liang personally exams each patient, he can discuss all options available.
Dr. Liang and his staff strive to offer the most comprehensive vision correction practice in Sacramento. He is personally involved in the measurements of each eye before surgery, and individually examines each patient before and after the procedure. It is this focus on quality patient care that ensures optimum results for each patient.
 
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