Saturday, January 12, 2013

My PRK Recovery: Week One

Day 0-1: After my nap on Day 0, my right eye started stinging and both eyes started to water considerably.   I napped intermittently through the rest of the day and listened to the TV and radio and my boyfriend kindly read articles to me.  I went to sleep with my dark goggles taped to my face using a little roll they had given me so that I wouldn't accidentally knock the goggles off while I slept.  This was the only night I used that tape because it was awful to take off and made my face really sticky.  But I think for that first night it was a good idea.  Throughout the night and upon waking, my eyes watered pretty much continuously and sometimes I would lift the goggles a little to let the tears out.  When I got up on Day 1, my eyes were quite swollen.  There was some stinging in both eyes so I took a Vicodin to be on the safe side.  I'm a complete wimp when it comes to pain so I was ready to take Vicodin any chance I got.  I want to stress how grateful I was not to be alone during these first few days.  Having someone hand me the correct drops and fetch me pills/water/food and keep me company was so important to my sense of well-being.  I felt very lucky.

Day 1 Checkup: I had my one day followup at 10:45am so my boyfriend drove me to Casey.  My eye exam went really well even though my eyes were swollen and still sensitive so it was difficult to keep them open for long.  They put some drops in my eyes (not sure what it was, they said they don't give it to patients because repeated use delayed healing) and asked me to read the vision chart and I tested at around 20/30 for each eye.  You can imagine my delight!  Doctor said everything looked good and that I could wear regular sunglasses instead of the goggles.  I was also allowed to shower and wash my face, I just had to be careful not to get water in my eyes.  I was giving some preservative-free eye drops and instructed to use them every hour.  After the assistant placed those special drops in my eyes, the watering pretty much went away for the rest of the day.  For the rest of the day, there was no stinging, but my eyes got tired easily.  I really enjoyed looking around and marveling at my sharp eyes.  They were good enough that I could even send a few emails from my iPhone.  

Day 2: When I woke up, my eyelashes were stuck together a little bit so I gently washed the lids with some water so I could open them.  Vision was noticeably worse this day, but still a million times better than what it was before surgery.  I could get around my apartment and easily identify objects.  My eyes were again watery during the night and morning but felt dry by noon.  I delayed taking any Vicodin until I felt a hint of stinging and after that, I had no discomfort whatsoever.  I wore my sunglasses all day and kept my apartment on the dark side since I felt a little bit more light sensitive than I had the day before.  This was probably the only time I've ever been grateful that Portland is such a cloudy city.

Day 3: By this time I was excited that I seemed to have gotten through the first 72 hours without experiencing anything I could really describe as pain.  Aside from some stinging and lots of watering, I had no discomfort with my eyes and spent my time napping and listening to things.  I could look at the TV, but the images were fairly blurry - it was very clear to me that my vision was nowhere near as sharp as they had been on Day 1.  However, I wasn't too discouraged since this seemed in line with everything I had been told to expect.  I had been taking 2 Vicodin a day on Days 0-2, but on this day I didn't feel like I needed any and didn't take the rest of my pills.  I started off the day feeling very light sensitive, despite the sunglasses and spent quite some time simply resting with eyes closed.  But as the day progressed, the sensitivity began to alleviate and I was able to take the sunglasses off.  My near vision was actually pretty decent since I could read things on my iPhone, although my eyes tired easily.  That evening I took a little walk out with my boyfriend, and didn't notice any change in my night vision (aside from the obvious blurriness/ghosting). 

Day 4 Checkup: I couldn't wait to get my contact bandages out, because even though I never felt them, I really didn't like the thought of these things being in my eyes for so long.  The doctor peeled them off using little tweezers and the feeling was a little unpleasant, but not awful.  Ironically, after I had the contacts out I started feeling like I had something in my eyes from time to time.  My vision test was dreadful this day.  I could not read any of the lines at all on the chart.  While I knew my vision wasn't as good as on Day 1, I admit to being a bit taken aback by this.  The doctor said I was healing just fine and there was still some corneal haze, but he was very noncommittal about my vision and simply said we would know more at the two week checkup.  This vagueness sort of worried me more than anything.  But at the same time, I kept in mind all the accounts I had read before and kept my hopes up.  After all, it's only been 4 days.  After the checkup, we went to walk around and grab lunch.  While I wore my sunglasses outside, my eyes were perfectly comfortable without them indoors.  It felt really good to be out and about again.  I couldn't read the street name signs well, but I could navigate my usual routes easily and identify my bus.  I can't stress how impossible even this blurry vision would have been before the surgery.

Day 5: This was my last day using the medicated drops.  My initial instructions had been to take them for six days, but my doctor was quite explicit during the Day 4 checkup to discontinue after Day 5.  I was looking forward to this also because 1) it's a pain to remember to take drops four times a day and 2) I'd read in a number of places that healing occurs more rapidly once you stop using the steroid drops.  Of course, I'd also read that you don't want the cornea to heal too much/too fast because that could lead to regression, so it was with somewhat mixed feelings that I stopped using the drops.  Vision was much the same as previous day.  My boyfriend had flown back home this day so I spent my time watching blurry TV (got addicted to the show Damages).

Day 6: I have some markers around my apartment that I use to determine my level of visual acuity for that day and every day had been checking my progress with these markers.  There is the little clock on my kitchen stove and my Kitchenaid mixer.  On this day, I felt like I could distinguish the mixer just a little bit better than on previous days.  Hopeful!  At this point, I ran out of the preservative-free drops I had been given so I bought some more at Rite Aid.  Again, noticed that I couldn't see the street name signs unless I was fairly close to them, nor could I see faces clearly until they got closer.

Day 7: Eyes were quite dry upon waking and I felt like there was some debris in them.  But after putting in drops and blinking a bit, the sensation went away.  On this day, my eyes felt like there were some clouds in front of them.  When I put in eyedrops, the clouds would part briefly and I could see more clearly, without ghosting.  But after a few blinks the clouds return and things are blurry again.  However, I could tell that the blurry state of vision on this day was better than it had been two days ago.  And the clarity underneath the clouds put me in a quite cheerful frame of mind.

1 comment:

  1. yay! i'm sure things are healing well and you'll be 20/20 in no time!!