As a Coastie, I have traveled the States for the past 20 years going from coast to coast and one amazing adventure to another.
Read on in this blog to hear stories about my experiences living the Coast Guard life, not only as a military officer but also as a small town Midwestern girl who left home to enlist in the United States Coast Guard.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say about... My Coast Guard Career.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

PRK: Day 7

Today was my first follow up appointment with the doctor. I was really looking forward to it because they were going to remove the contact bandages in my eyes. I was ready to get them out! I was doing great. In fact, I even drove to the appointment.

After they took the contacts out, my up close vision improved drastically. Much clearer. Long distance was still blurry but mostly just my left eye. During the eye test, I saw 20/20 out of my right eye but have double vision out of my left eye. The doctor says that’s normal and it will improve in the coming weeks. 

My next post will be the one month check up. Talk to ya around March 12! 

PRK: Day 5

Seriously, this is too easy! I slept great, got up with no light sensitivity at all! Still blurry vision but that is normal for several months after the surgery as my eyes adjust. Up close vision is fine - totally fine. I can use my phone for as long as I want.

I even walked to meet friends for brunch. After brunch I went for a long walk with friends and out to dinner. My eyes felt great. I’m not even going to write about Day 6 because it was just great. 

PRK: Day 4

Feeling even better! This morning I am not very light sensitive at all. I crack the blinds and turn on the TV. My vision was a bit blurry, but I could see the TV fine. Things are great, which makes me happy since USA played Russia in Olympic men’s hockey that morning and I didn’t want to miss it. My up close vision is much better today. I can use my phone for about 10 minutes at a time.

A friend stopped by and took me to lunch (since I couldn’t drive yet). It was great to get out of the house. That evening I even walked to the metro station and went in to the city (DC) to meet some friends. My eyes were great until about 10pm. I had a great night’s sleep.

PRK: Day 3

Felt great! I have pretty much a normal day. I keep blinds closed because I was still light sensitive but virtually pain free. I even did laundry, picked up the house and cooked. I also watched TV a bit but I had to wear 2 pairs of sunglasses. I was able to see up close out of my left eye but not my right. So, I could use my phone as long as I kept my right eye closed.

I take a short nap but my eyes hold up well all day. However, by about 8pm my eyes were very tired. I had a fairly normal night’s sleep only getting up about 3 times for an ice pack. 

PRK: Day 2

By around 30 hours after surgery, I am feeling pretty good - no redness, good spirits, minimal pain and decent vision. I mostly keep my eyes closed due to light sensitive but not because of pain. I can’t see up close too well, so I still can't use my cell phone to text or anything. I just stay focused on the doctor’s orders and rest as much as I can. Day 3 is even better…

PRK: Day 1

Surgery day! I was a ball of nerves. Thankfully the doctor prescribed me a valium to take the edge off. I took half in the morning with some food and the other half about 30 minutes before surgery.

When they called my name, I was taken to a pre-op room where they loaded up my eyes with numbing drops as well as put on a hair net and shoe covers. I was able to watch the person before me have surgery, which was very cool to see. It was so fast!

As I entered the room, they had me lay down on the table. They put a patch on my left eye, more drops in my right eye to keep it moist and numb, then walked me through the procedure step-by-step. First, the eyelid holder to keep me from blinking (didn’t even know it was on really). Then, the brush (about 30 seconds). Then, they lined up the laser and turned it on. As they finished counting down the seconds (like 10 seconds total), they used cool water to rinse the eye, put on a protective contact lens, removed the eyelid holder and asked me to close my eye slowly. Easy peasy! Then they repeated the same steps on my left eye.

I practically skipped out of the operating room (I’m not sure how much of that came from the valium). I wasn’t in any pain and could see pretty well. My friend drove me home. As home, I laid in bed and began the process of drops, ice packs and drinking water constantly. I figured hydration is key to flushing the body and preventing infection.

My schedule became routine – even through the night. About every hour, I would get up, drink a glass of water, grab a fresh gel eye mask out of the freezer, put in whatever drops were ordered and lay back down. This went on for about 48 hours straight, keeping my eyes closed as much as possible. But, about half way through Day 2 I was feeling quite well. Read about Day 2 next….

PRK: Pre Operation

As I mention in my first post about my PRK experience, preparation is the one thing I think is the most important key to success.

I read all kinds of articles and talked to my friends who had corrective eye surgery. I built a library in my mind of potential problems, outcomes and expectations. I mentally prepared for any situation I could think of in hopes of keeping myself calm and reassured.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Here is what I did to prepare:
  • Got dog sitters for the first 3 days, so I didn’t have to worry about walks.
  • Loaded up on easy to prepare, healthy, anti-inflammatory foods like fresh spinach salad stuff, frozen salmon meals, pre-packaged smoothies, yogurt, etc.
  • Bought gel eye masks. They don’t completely freeze and they can be worn while sleeping. These packs were so valuable! They numbed the pain and helped me sleep.
  • Took high dosage Vitamen C and Fish Oil for a week before surgery and all through recovery. Doctor says these help healing.
  • Made sure I had my favorite sleep-inducing drug of choice. For me, it was NyQuil and Tylenol PM. I didn’t want to use the narcotic prescription drugs unless absolutely necessary. I wanted to make sure I followed the doctor’s orders, used the drops as scheduled, and didn't just knock myself out to avoid the pain. 

What ended up being another crucial item was a moist, cold washcloth. It kept my eyes damp and helped avoid the residue from the eye drops. My eyes watered excessively the first few days and the drops keep them flushed. But the drops do cause a sort of crust on the eyelashes and in the corners of the eyes. The washcloth really helped and kept me from touching my eyes.

That’s pretty much it. I was ready for surgery. In my next few posts, I will recount each day after surgery.