I am finally over the hump of PRK surgery.
What’s PRK surgery? It’s like LASIK to correct eyesight, except it’s not like LASIK at all. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It’s surgery and much more invasive.
PRK works like this: They remove the outer layer of your cornea and then reshape your eyeball with a laser. A doctor inserts contact lenses in your eyes, and they send you home with prescription eye drops. The protective contact lens is removed after 5-7 days, your corneas heal in a week, and your vision stabilizes in a week to six months.
Yes, it could take six months.
PRK is not an easy procedure. It all happens without anxiety and pain meds in North Carolina because people are addicted to benzos and opioids. The eye care crew at my doctor’s office recommended a rotating cocktail of Ibuprofen and Tylenol, both of which kill my stomach, so I skipped pain medicine entirely.
It was no fun.
My vision has not quite stabilized, but it’s much better. Who needs vision when you have a team of awesome people in your life to help you out?
PRK is a team sport. My husband was a champ and earned a second doctorate in marriage after nailing blankets over my bedroom windows because my eyes were incredibly light-sensitive. And he administered my eye drops when I was shaking in pain, fed me soup when I was too exhausted to eat, and did all the household chores.
PRK surgery is excruciating. Most doctors downplay how much it hurts, but you should take this seriously if you’re considering the procedure. I’ve had my tonsils out as an adult, and that was very painful. PRK was worse.
PRK surgery keeps you housebound for at least a week. Maybe more. The first five days were tough. I couldn’t drive or watch TV. My friends sent kind packages, called me on the phone because I couldn’t text, and offered to bring grilled cheese and champagne to the house. They made sure that my real life wasn’t too awful or boring. I had help around the house and access to a teenager who was more than happy to sort through boring email or look at blog posts at a moment’s notice.
PRK surgery gets worse before it gets better. My sister sent a lovely bouquet of flowers, but it looked like three bouquets because I had triple vision. So, instead of dwelling on the negative, I was grateful for the love. And, instead of having three cats, I had 6-9 cats depending on the day. I wasn’t lonely, and Roxy made sure to plant herself by my face and give me smooches to help me heal.
PRK is not LASIK. And it’s annoying. It feels like I should say that I’m grateful to be out of glasses, but I would not recommend PRK surgery to anybody in the market for laser eye surgery. Even if it’s fancy, PRK is not worth it. The place where I went was on a list of providers from my health insurance, but it wasn’t the most cutting-edge surgical unit in the world. And they weren’t honest about the recovery and how much I would rely on other people for support.
So, thanks for all of your support, these past few weeks. Appreciate everybody who moved meetings or listened to me complain about my privileged life. You get a coupon, and I have your back. That’s why I’m warning you off PRK. In retrospect, glasses and contact lenses weren’t so bad.