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After writing in the RCE posts for the last year, I decided on the PTK to address the RCE with PRK correction for my astigmatism and farsightedness. My injury had left me with enough vision impairment where I could barely read with both a corrective contact and glasses. It was 15 months since my injury with RCEs averaging very few weeks with a contact bandage in.

My procedure was performed by a well experienced and respected surgeon. This wasn’t the first time I was under his care. That helped in making the decision to do the surgery. I feel very fortunate to have him as my doctor.

So…I went in on October 10th, had some tests again to recheck the vision and what I believe is a type of scan that produces a report from which the doctor determines the settings for the laser. He made sure all the numbers were consistent and then it was to the surgery room.

Prep consisted of a cap, anti-inflammatory drops, numbering drop to the other eye which was then cover by a patch. The assistant did that.

The doctor numbed the eye, put on the separator (which was pretty tight and uncomfortable) and proceeded to ‘scrap’ the cells from the cornea. He talked to me the whole way through the procedure. He said the cells were clearly loose and could understand the recurrent erosion problem. This took the most amount of time scraping and rinsing. He then applied the laser for I believe 8 seconds and that he said was the PTK part of the procedure. The PRK was an additional 20 seconds. He took me to an examining room, looked at the eye, irrigating and then applying oxygen to assist in healing.

An assistant gave me instructions for that day which included wearing goggles, antibiotic drops, diluted numbing drops and a prescription for oral pain medication and a second antibiotic drop. I was to put preservative free drops in the eye every 30 minutes. I was instructed to come back the next morning between 8:00 and 9:00 am.

Day 1 (Thursday)– I took a pain pill that I had left over from my initial injury immediately after the surgery—the doctor told me 10%-15% patients experience pain and I wanted to ‘nip it in the bud’. So the day and evening went well.

Day 2 – (Friday) At 3:00am the next morning I awoke and felt my lid stick and a little scratching. It burned some so I applied the numbing drop but it didn’t appear to do anything. It was time for a pain pill so I took one and went back to bed. I got up at 7:00 to get ready to see the doctor and ended up getting sick (apparently from the pain pill on empty stomach). Felt a little green at the doctor’s. He gave me a prescription for a different type of pain killer in the event I couldn’t tolerate the first one. I told him it was clear I was feeling pain with the pill and I would need to take something. He said the cells were coming in quickly with half already there. I went home--finally at 1:00 pm I felt like my stomach was okay. I spent the morning eating a little and taking quarters of the pain pill working up to a half and so on. By afternoon, my eye became increasing more uncomfortable, burning. By night it was bad. I had a rough night, little sleep, I stayed in my chair in the family room through the night sitting/propped up with pillows. Laying down made my eye feel worse. I had to keep my eye still. My eyelid was swollen and my eye was pink. I made it through the night and called the doctor in the morning.

Day 3 – (Saturday) Talking to the doctor on the phone, he took his time and carefully questioned me. He felt the swelling and color was a reaction to the pain and I just had to get through this phase. He was very sympathetic. He had me rinse the eye and asked how that felt, it felt worse. He asked to to gauge the pain form 1 to 10, at that point I told him 7-8. He said the lens could be removed but that would mean removing cells with it and it’s possible my eye would feel better but also it could feel worse. And…it would set the healing back. I told him I would just stick it out. He told me if I use the good eye, this would result in the other one moving with it and I told him I’ll just spend the day with my eyes closed. I had to be in a dark room, no sound. I had to keep the eye completely still which isn’t easy when it hurts. I couldn’t sleep, though I wished I could. At 1:00 the doctor called to check on me. I told him I had a little bite to eat and at that moment I felt more like a 5-6. I also was experiencing headache on and off to include sinus pain, none of which helped of course. He told me to call if things got worse again. By 6:00 pm I actually felt well enough to have the TV on with the volume low. My husband catered to me, I did nothing with my eyes open. I was able to sleep in bed with my husband that night.

Day 4 – (Sunday) Wow, what a difference I felt. I experienced discomfort on this day, but not pain. I have a clear delineation of the two after that experience. I needed the diluted numbing drops, they worked great for the discomfort.

Day 5 (Monday) I stayed home form work. Though my eye felt pretty good, I didn’t. I think the pain pills and everything from the previous days not to mention my IBS and constipation induced by the pain medication created a new set of problems. I spent the day nursing these other miseries. Went to doctor at 4:30 pm. Felt better by then. Eye was looking great, he was very pleased. Said the cells had merged into the “peak” and now will start to flatten out. He wanted to leave the contact on one more day.

Day 6 (Tuesday) Used the numbing drops more in the morning than afternoon. Went to doctor 4:30 pm. The lens was removed. Eye felt very irritated. Vision fuzzy, to be expected. Told to used Refresh PM ointment at night to prevent lid from sticky to eye. Moisture drops as needed during the day. Appoint to come back in 3 ½ weeks.

Day 7 (Wednesday…today). So here I write this post. When I got up this morning my eye was very sore and irritated. I used the drops. I can only used them once an hour and it felt like it wore off after 15 minutes. I’ll hang in there. If it gets red or swollen I call the doctor. Distraction helps with discomforta. I’ll keep busy, hopefully by the end of today it will feel better than this morning. Doctor said there is a line where the cells meet that will temporarily affect my vision – it is fuzzy. Even so, I still can see better and read the text of this document! Yay!!!!

Evie





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