Discussion I had PRK Laser Eye Corrective Surgery - Jury is out on the results...

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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On 5/21 I went and got myself some Photo-Refreactive-Keratectomy due to a slew of life circumstances that told me that waiting for the perfect time to better yourself is a loser's game. Like the much more popular LASIK, its a form of laser eye surgery that will essentially "etch" a contact lens onto the surface of the cornea to get folks to perfect 20/20 vision.

My eyes were at roughly -8.5 (extreme nearsightedness) and this last year really brought my frustration with glasses into focus (hur hur hur) thanks to masks getting them to fog up all the time.

Whole thing cost me about $5800 bucks with VSP insurance($2900 per eye is how they bill it) and included all pre-op and post-op appointments.

A couple things for those folks looking into this procedure prospectively:

- Everyone who has had Lasik will tell you to get it, but if you're having PRK your eyes are probably too messed up for Lasik (Thin corneas + extremely high eye number), and they will tell you things like "OMG my eyesight was perfect afterward" and "I was back at work after two days". Do not listen to these people if you're getting PRK. Your eyes will be in some form of pain for two weeks following the procedure and your eyesight will get really bad before it gets better (Thanks to your eyes having to regrow cells over the cornea, a process that does not have to happen with Lasik). You will doubt yourself and wonder if you made the right decision.

- The actual procedure is super fast but its also extremely anxiety inducing. TAKE THE ANTI-ANXIETY MEDS THEY GIVE YOU. Its effectively what I assume being abducted by aliens would feel like. Lots of drops in each eye, a sort of "halo" comes down over your head and there is an array of targeting lasers and lights. Eye scraping and other fun things happen (your eyes are numbed, I recall the nurse telling my wife "Don't worry he cannot feel that" and starting to get worried as a result). Even through each eye takes all of 5 minutes, it will feel like a god damn eternity. The thing that I remember the most is the smell of the laser burning off parts of my cornea. It smells like a mix of burning flesh and burning rubber and its frikin horrible.

- TAKE THE PAINKILLERS THEY GIVE YOU. Jesus H Christ just do it. Do everything in your power to sleep for the as much of the first 48 hours as possible.

- YOU WILL DOUBT THAT YOU MADE THE RIGHT DECISION AT FIRST. I wish someone told me that. Your eyes hurt like hell, your vision is not 20/20 thanks to your eyes being in pain and being inflamed from the procedure, even your near sight will fail in a couple days following the procedure. STICK WITH IT.

- I went from functionally blind to 20/60 vision in about a week. Another week and I was at 20/40 vision. At this point, I'm around 20/30 vision about 3 weeks out. Every morning I get up and look at a few test objects in my room. Every morning I can see everything just a little bit more clearly. I figure in another two or three weeks, I'll be at 20/20 vision.

I am making this post for anyone considering laser eye surgery that has been directed to PRK instead of LASIK. A lot of people know about LASIK, but many people have gotten PRK. LASIK is like crossfit, the folks that got it won't shut the fuck up about it and how incredible it is, which tends to skew the conversation around laser eye surgery a lot. PRK is one of the gym rats that are always super fit but eat pizza and tacos and drink beer and hang with the bros. You keep wondering what the hell their secret is but they don't blab it from the mountaintops.

I'm not there yet, but today was the first day I drove my family to the beach and picked through cool stones with my daughter and looked to the waves in the distance while lounging in my chair without once thinking about whether or not I was wearing glasses or why my eyesight isn't where it was promised to be (yet). It was a good day.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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I had PRK and it was immediately out of surgery for me night and day difference. I was already impressed. Was slightly blurry from all the eye drops, but that aside I could already see the better vision through it.

Also has little pain that I could ever remember, didn't need any pills after.


Just sayin' my experience with prk wasn't like yours from the sounds of it.
 

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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I had PRK and it was immediately out of surgery for me night and day difference. I was already impressed. Was slightly blurry from all the eye drops, but that aside I could already see the better vision through it.

Also has little pain that I could ever remember, didn't need any pills after.


Just sayin' my experience with prk wasn't like yours from the sounds of it.
- It was a huge difference immediately following the procedure, no doubt, but my vision post surgery was far from *perfect*. "It be stupid as shit to spend $5800 and still need glasses" I thought immediately after the procedure.

Additionally, outside of the 1st 48 hours, my eyes felt pretty good outside of some dryness that was remidied with either the medicinal or standard eye drops. At this point I can get through the day sans eye drops at all. Took 1 codene tablet immediately following the procedure and another the following night, but I still have the remaining 10 day course leftover to grind and snort later :p

Granted, I'm an extremely pessimistic person, but its how I've felt. My trajectory is fully toward 20/20, but I'm not going to feel sorted out until I actually get there.
 
Nov 8, 2012
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- It was a huge difference immediately following the procedure, no doubt, but my vision post surgery was far from *perfect*. "It be stupid as shit to spend $5800 and still need glasses" I thought immediately after the procedure.

Additionally, outside of the 1st 48 hours, my eyes felt pretty good outside of some dryness that was remidied with either the medicinal or standard eye drops. At this point I can get through the day sans eye drops at all. Took 1 codene tablet immediately following the procedure and another the following night, but I still have the remaining 10 day course leftover to grind and snort later

Granted, I'm an extremely pessimistic person, but its how I've felt. My trajectory is fully toward 20/20, but I'm not going to feel sorted out until I actually get there.
Ok yeah, that's starting to sound like my experience as well.

Only thing different for me Is I don't recall how long it took to fully get vision. Within 24 hours I probably wasn't noticing improvements just because the whole time I was like "Holy shit I can actually see".

After being practically blind my whole life previously I was probably less likely to even notice the continued development since I never knew what perfect vision was heh.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
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Wait until you get cataracts and they go in and hash the lens with ultrasonics or a laser and then suck it out with a vacuum. Then insert a new plastic one.

I had both eyes done with advanced corrective lenses and now have great vision, no glasses. I was also reluctant due to thinking about it too much. I had no pain and great results immediately.
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
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How's your near vision after? Do you need reading glasses? Is it better of worse than before?
I'd consider corrective eye surgery but I really don't want to screw up my near vision.
 

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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How's your near vision after? Do you need reading glasses? Is it better of worse than before?
I'd consider corrective eye surgery but I really don't want to screw up my near vision.
- My near vision is fully recovered and reading things at book or phone length is crystal clear now. For about 2-3 days after surgery my near sight was also substantially reduced, which freaked me out a bit, but it quickly rebounded and is now super sharp.

My understanding is that near sight goes in the 40's somewhere for most people, laser eye surgery or not, due to the muscles that allow your eye to see at that distance losing tone as you age. I'm in my late 30's, so I figure I'll have maybe 5 to 10 years if I'm lucky to be fully glasses free before I have to pick up a pair of readers.
 
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brianmanahan

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i can't bring myself to get a procedure like this until eye transplants are possible (in case they mess up)
 
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nakedfrog

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Apr 3, 2001
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- My near vision is fully recovered and reading things at book or phone length is crystal clear now. For about 2-3 days after surgery my near sight was also substantially reduced, which freaked me out a bit, but it quickly rebounded and is now super sharp.

My understanding is that near sight goes in the 40's somewhere for most people, laser eye surgery or not, due to the muscles that allow your eye to see at that distance losing tone as you age. I'm in my late 30's, so I figure I'll have maybe 5 to 10 years if I'm lucky to be fully glasses free before I have to pick up a pair of readers.
Yeah, after having had the same prescription for over 20 years, I'm anticipating a new one for bifocals next time I go. Granted, there is anecdotal evidence that HRT can impact vision (in either direction), and I did start noticing my vision change around the same time, but I also got further into my forties, so it's hard to say...
 
Nov 29, 2006
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As someone who hasn't looked into eye surgery much, but know the gist of the different types. How do they keep your eye from blinking or even moving during the lasers? I would imagine moving your eye on accident woukd be really bad?
 

Red Squirrel

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I was sick and tired of glasses and when I became illegible for LASIK I read up a lot on it. Originally I was considering PRK myself as I really did not like the idea of a flap having to be cut and the potential risks associated with that. I still ended up settling with LASIK though. Once the flap heals the amount of force required to dislodge it again is basically enough to cause eye damage even if you had no flap. But yeah for some professions like fighter pilots or MMA fighters etc PRK is still better.

I'm super squeamish when it comes to eyes so it took me a lot of courage to go through with it, but I figured I just need to endure it once and I'm free from glasses for (hopefully) rest of my life. Downside is I may be stuck with reading glasses when I hit 40, but either way I was stuck with glasses, and if I only need them for reading it's not as bad as needing them forever.

The hardest part of the whole surgery was actually the eye drops, pre op and post op there are eye drops involved and those are not fun at all. Thankfully I don't need them forever though, some people do. I only needed them as part of recovery. 3 times a day I think... that was not fun at all. But the fact that I no longer needed glasses made it all worth it.

I could never do contacts, I just can't imagine it. The time it would take me to put those in myself is longer than what the surgery lasted for. It's crazy how fast it goes.

What I still wonder though is what happens if the power goes out mid surgery, I hope they have battery backup on those machines so it just finishes the surgery even if power is out. Would suck if it's half way done and it's like "sorry you'll have to come back another day so we can finish".
 

Red Squirrel

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As someone who hasn't looked into eye surgery much, but know the gist of the different types. How do they keep your eye from blinking or even moving during the lasers? I would imagine moving your eye on accident woukd be really bad?
The machine can actually react like 10x faster than you are capable of moving your eyes so it's safe in that respect. But you do need to try not to move your eyes. There is a red dot that flashes and you need to just keep staring at it, but the doc will be guiding you through the whole thing and letting you know if you need to move your eye more.

The eye is also placed in this suction cup holder. That is probably going to be the weirdest part because you have this thing literally touching your eye ball and holding it in place, your eye lid is also kept open so you can't blink. It's a short enough surgery though like no more than 10 minutes per eye but it felt more like a minute. As scary as it is it's also exciting knowing that you'll come out of there not needing glasses.
 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
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Wait until you get cataracts and they go in and hash the lens with ultrasonics or a laser and then suck it out with a vacuum. Then insert a new plastic one.

I had both eyes done with advanced corrective lenses and now have great vision, no glasses. I was also reluctant due to thinking about it too much. I had no pain and great results immediately.

You mean when I'll need eye surgery in order to keep my sight? In THAT case I would do it without hesitation! By choice though?

Not happening.

Inventor of Lasik: "It should never have been approved"


Thing is I've been wearing glasses since I was about 8 years old and at this point I give them as much thought as I do my hands or feet.

They can be a PITA sometimes, especially when skiing (dang fog!) BUT I can see everything just fine with them on and I'm a big believer in not fixing what isn't broken.
 
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ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
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I had that procedure done to fix an issue I had with recurrent corneal erosion. They basically lasered off my outer cornea layers and gave me drops to rebuild it.

Yeah, the procedure is scary as hell. You can see them cutting your eye.... freaky!

They warned me that it might impact my vision, but it actually improved a bit after the surgery.
 
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pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
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How's your near vision after? Do you need reading glasses? Is it better of worse than before?
I'd consider corrective eye surgery but I really don't want to screw up my near vision.
I had one eye set for close vision and one set for far vision. The only time I need to wear any glasses is very small print on labels.

I had cataracts in both eyes that I had put off getting them fixed for many years. It was like looking through a greasy glass window.

On an eye chart I can read 20/20 in both eyes.
 

MtnMan

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2004
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Though not the same, wife had cataract surgery a couple of months ago. She had astigmatism in one eye, and opted for a replacement lens that addressed that.

She is thrilled with the results, in addition to the dull colors and constant blur of the cataracts being gone. Has worn glasses since she was 8 years old, and has now thrown them away. She does need readers, so there are now readers all over the house.

I'm still adjusting to her walking around without glasses on, as in the 56 years I've been with her, she put her glasses on before getting out of bed, and put them on the night stand when she went to bed. I would love to get rid of my glasses which I've worn since I was 40, but my cataracts don't warrant the surgery yet.
 

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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As an update, I finally hit the point a few days ago where I absentmindedly smack my face when trying to "take off my glasses" before going to bed, taking a shower, etc.

Funny that my eyesight was off enough before that I didn't have that reflex, only to have it suddenly kick in a month out.

At this point I'm probably about 20/25 if I was going to spitball the numbers. It's kinda like having my glasses too far up/down my nose, or maybe have the lenses be a tad smudgy.

Can see and read basically everything just fine, it just looks ever so slightly "off" right now. Some fine print on more distant objects just sort of gently blurs while the larger print is perfectly legible.

I've hit the "worth it" spot for my PRK. Eye discomfort is almost entirely gone, just use one or two "gel" eye drops a day. Vision is just shy of what it was when wearing glasses (and it technically should keep improving).

Money well spent at this juncture.
 

Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
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I've thought about getting PRK. There is a small chance I'll need to be eject seat approved some day for my job and it seems to have less long term issues than LASIK.

I've come very close to getting one or the other done a few times, but I've never been able to find reliable sources for the risks. Everything read like propaganda for or against. I did work with a guy that go LASIK right after it was approved and it fucked over his eyes for life, he was basically blind at night and not that great during the day, uncorrectable. A coworker would drive him to and from work.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
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Though not the same, wife had cataract surgery a couple of months ago. She had astigmatism in one eye, and opted for a replacement lens that addressed that.

She is thrilled with the results, in addition to the dull colors and constant blur of the cataracts being gone. Has worn glasses since she was 8 years old, and has now thrown them away. She does need readers, so there are now readers all over the house.

I'm still adjusting to her walking around without glasses on, as in the 56 years I've been with her, she put her glasses on before getting out of bed, and put them on the night stand when she went to bed. I would love to get rid of my glasses which I've worn since I was 40, but my cataracts don't warrant the surgery yet.

I like the way my doctor described if I was ready for cataract surgery or not.

Quote: "Only you can tell when you are ready for it. I cannot see through your eyes."

You need to consult another doctor IMO. The older the cataracts are the harder they are for them to measure through them ( they use a laser to measure through the lens ) to get a proper replacement lens.
 

TXHokie

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 1999
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I had lasik 20 yrs ago...back when I was too dumb to understand the risk of losing my eye and ruin my whole life (90% success? that's an A- right? sure go for it duh). But ignorance is bliss sometime and have had a great run with 6.8 nearsightedness and pretty much blind without glasses getting corrected to 20/20 vision. The simple thing of waking up and can see the clock is amazing to this day. Now it's the old age needing reading glasses. I have siblings that did it and had issues with night vision so I wouldn't tout it since I just feel I got lucky -- really really lucky.
 
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brianmanahan

Lifer
Sep 2, 2006
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I had lasik 20 yrs ago...back when I was too dumb to understand the risk of losing my eye and ruin my whole life (90% success? that's an A- right? sure go for it duh). But ignorance is bliss sometime and have had a great run with 6.8 nearsightedness and pretty much blind without glasses getting corrected to 20/20 vision. The simple thing of waking up and can see the clock is amazing to this day. Now it's the old age needing reading glasses. I have siblings that did it and had issues with night vision so I wouldn't tout it since I just feel I got lucky -- really really lucky.
yeah part of my really wants to get LASIK

but i can't get over the fact that if they mess up, there's no ctrl+Z
 
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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
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yeah part of my really wants to get LASIK

but i can't get over the fact that if they mess up, there's no ctrl+Z
I've read that suicide isn't that uncommon of a side effect. Again, I wish you could actually find real statistics on long term side effects.
 

brianmanahan

Lifer
Sep 2, 2006
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I've read that suicide isn't that uncommon of a side effect. Again, I wish you could actually find real statistics on long term side effects.
yikes. if it was a big enough medical problem that LASIK fixed it might be worth the risk, but wearing glasses is no problem at all
 

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