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My PRK Recovery Timeline

prk-surgeryOne major consequence of PRK over LASIK is the longer and much more variable healing/recovery time. It’s nerve-racking having blurry vision weeks and even months after surgery.

The amount of time required to heal can be frustrating.

Since I’ve found comfort reading other people’s recovery timelines, I offer mine in hopes that it will do the same for you. On the flip side, I’ve also read quick healing timelines that made me more stressed out. Hopefully my story doesn’t do that to you. ;)

Just remember healing time is extremely variable; six months being the most common “worst-case scenario,” but I’ve also read between 9 and 12 months.

Unless anything else comes up, I will no longer update this post cause I’m back to normal! w00t w00t! But if you have any questions about my recovery, feel free to leave a comment.

Also, be sure to read the comments for some other first-hand recovery experiences. Thanks everyone for commenting and sharing!

Overview

Day 1 – September 30th, 2010

Surgery happened around noon.

We’re looking to correct:

  • Nearsightedness (-3.25 in both eyes)
  • Slight astigmatism

I will say one thing about the surgery itself. The doctor sprayed some fluid in my eye right after the laser zapped my cornea. During this split second I could see crystal clear. The laser above me was in sharp focus; no haze, no blurriness, just perfect vision.

This short glimpse into my future vision is what I hold onto when I doubt the results of PRK. I keep telling myself: “You saw clearly then. You will see clearly again.”

Right after surgery I could see somewhere between with contacts/glasses and without. So between 0 and -3.25. I didn’t have any pain, but the doctor told me to take a Lortab when I got home.

Lortab makes me nauseous, so post-op went something like this: got home, took a Lortab, slept, woke up, took another Lortab, slept and into Day 2 we go! ;)

Day 2

Eyes feel fine. No pain or discomfort. Doctor says everything looks good.

Vision is still what it was yesterday. Blurry, but better than before surgery without contacts.

While the doctor says I can’t drive yet, my vision is good enough that I feel comfortable driving to the grocery store for some lubricating drops. Not sure if my eyes are in the legal limits though. ;)

Day 3

You know the feeling you get when you’re in a dark room and walk outside into the sun? Your eyes feel overwhelmed and you have to shut them for a bit?

That’s how my eyes felt for the first part of the day.

I tried watching college football but couldn’t keep my eyes open for too long. My eyes felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t keep them open for more than a few minutes before I wanted to close them.

Luckily that cleared up halfway through the day and I felt fine afterward.

Vision hasn’t changed though. Still blurry.

Day 4-5

I was standing in my living room looking across to the kitchen when I realized I could see better than the previous days. Still not better (or equal to) when I had contacts, but definitely better than before.

That’s good news right?

Day 6

That is until the doctor messes with you!

I go in for my second post-op appointment and the doctor takes out the bandage contact lenses.

Vision regresses to what it was on Day 1-3. Bummer! *shakes fist at doctor* “You’ll rue the day!”

Day 7

I drive for the first time at night.

This is my first post-PRK venture in the dark with my new eyes. I know night vision problems is a common side effect of PRK (e.g. halos, glare, starbursts), so I’m anxious to see what night vision problems I have.

To my surprise, it doesn’t appear that I have any.

Since I’m still somewhat sensitive to light, I don’t stare at any street lights for too long, but as far as I can tell my night vision is what it was before I had PRK. Not seeing any signs of halos, starbursts, etc.

I’m praying this trend continues throughout my PRK recovery.

Week 1

The common thread the past week has been vision that is between with contacts and without. Basically my nearsightedness has been reduced, but not eliminated.

Luckily it’s good enough that I feel safe driving because I go back to work for the first time tomorrow. I’m slightly worried about going back because I spend a vast majority of my time on a computer and I don’t want to strain my eyes while they’re healing.

But *shrug*. It is what it is. I gotta work to pay the bills.

There haven’t been any significant improvements or regression in vision (just a small improvement on Day 4 and 5). Overall my vision has been fairly consistent since the surgery.

I will say I am surprised at how non-existent pain and discomfort has been. I’ve experienced no pain or discomfort this past week. Also, I don’t have any problems with dry eyes (another common PRK side effect). I use the lubricating drops as directed, but never feel like I need them.

Score one for the home team!

Day 8

First day back to work.

As I mentioned earlier, I spend most of my day on a computer. Being back wasn’t nearly as straining as I had expected. I did have to bump my screen resolution down to 1024×768 to see anything, but I feel good about resuming normal computer activity (with frequent breaks).

Day 9

Today was the first day I felt good about the strength of my eyes. My eyes have needed 10 to 15 minutes in the morning to fully wake up and not feel like they’ve just woken up from a coma. Not so much today.

Aside from the still blurry vision, they feel strong.

The eyes no longer need to be babied and I feel comfortable resuming activities I’ve avoided the past week (e.g. reading my Kindle and using a computer).

Day 10-12

Same old, same old . . .

Day 13

While my vision hasn’t had any major fluctuations since the surgery, I can tell there are slight changes up/down. Every couple days or so I’ll sense my vision is better than it has been. Usually it’ll happen randomly during the day, but it doesn’t last to the next day.

Today, unfortunately, was the noticeably worse day I’ve had since the surgery. Not horrible by any means. I could still drive and function as normal, but I could just tell my vision was worse than in the past.

Day 14

If yesterday was the worse day, today’s the best my vision has been yet. How convenient since I had another appointment today. ;)

Surprisingly, my vision is somewhere between 20/40 and 20/25. Didn’t realize it would be that good. I could make out the letters on the Snellen chart, but the sharpness/focus wasn’t there. That’s the part I miss the most from my vision. Even reading things up close (like the text on this monitor) don’t have the crispness I did with contacts.

But according to my current progress, the doctor says it’ll take another three weeks before my eyes stabilize.

So until then I won’t worry too much.

Week 2

My vision through this past week has stayed fairly consistent. Consistently not stellar. The story of my life the past two weeks. ;)

I can detect minor ups and downs in quality of vision from day to day, but nothing significant. I’ve had both my best and worst seeing days in the same week. But overall, I don’t believe my vision is any better than it was a week ago. Or, maybe the progress is happening so subtly that I can’t tell?

Also, the doctor says to wait another three weeks for the eyes to stabilize.

In all of this, you’ll hear me say my eyes are blurry a lot. I think I should define that a little more. I was nearsighted (-3.25 in both eyes). After surgery I am still nearsighted (as of right now), only less so. I can read/see fine up close, but things in the distance are blurry.

Blurry applies to distance vision (which is expected being nearsighted) but it also applies to close-up vision. In this context, blurry means the vision isn’t crisp/sharp. It’s slightly out of focus. So while I can read a book just fine, I can detect a hint of the words being out of focus.

The clarity just isn’t there yet.

Week 3

This has been the best week by far. There’s been noticeable improvement in my vision. I believe I’ve hit 20/20 at various points. It’s been neat getting up in the morning and being able to see clearly.

My vision hasn’t fully stabilized yet, but I’m finally starting to feel better about the results of my surgery. If things progress as they have I’ll be a happy camper.

I also engaged in sports for the first time without any problems. Played a couple matches of tennis and a pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee. At no point did I feel hindered because of my eyes.

There are still minor ups and downs from day to day (and within each day), but the average quality of my vision has improved. Let’s say last week was 75%, this week it’s been 85%.

The blurriness is slowly clearing up (both distance and close-up). I can now see objects in the distance with more focus. Books are also getting clearer, however, I am still having some blurriness when viewing computer screens.

Week 4

I’m pretty confident my vision is at or near 20/20. This makes me happy, but at the same time my vision is still not at the same quality it was with contacts.

I could see 20/20 with my contacts, but things were much more crisp.

Being able to see 20/20 is only one aspect of good vision. The part I’m missing is the sharpness and clarity. So that doesn’t make me happy and reminds me there’s still more healing/waiting that needs to be done.

Also, I think I am having some night vision issues. Still no halos, starburts, etc., but I feel like I’ve lost the ability to see detail in the shadows. It’s kind of hard to describe. As I’m drive at night there are portions of what I see that appear to be completely black; where I can’t see any detail. Instead of seeing an outline or shape in the shadows it all blends together into a blob of darkness.

Let’s hope this isn’t a permanent issue. While it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it were, it’s still a little weird. What if a burglar jumps out from the shadows and I can’t see him!? ;)

Week 5

Overall, not much has changed from last week. The vision has stayed consistent (near, if not at 20/20) and I think the lack of clarity/sharpness has gotten a bit better.

And also, I’m positive now I am having night vision side effects. I haven’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is. But it does have to do with not being able to see shadow detail. And whether it is related or not, there seems to be certain situations with lights (i.e. stop lights/car head lights) that make me sense something is different than it was prior to surgery.

I’m going to try and experiment with my night vision this upcoming week to see if I can explain what these “symptoms” are.

Week 6-7

Wow, has it already been seven weeks since the surgery? Over the past two weeks I’ve found myself not noticing any vision problems at all (at least during the day). So the slight issues I had looking at computer screens has gone away. It was such a gradual thing that I didn’t even realize it was getting better.

I just started waking up and going about my day like nothing was wrong. Only when I had to think about writing this update did it occur to me things had gotten better.

But as I hinted at before, I still have a detectable problem seeing details in shadows at night.

Even if that doesn’t clear up, I will still be satisfied with the results of my surgery. I have a follow-up appointment this upcoming week. We’ll see what the doctor has to say then.

Week 8

Had a follow-up appointment with the doctor this week. According to the Snellen chart, I’m seeing just better than 20/20. I could read the 20/20 line without any problems and some of the 20/15 line. Good news there.

As far as the night vision problems I’ve been describing, I explained it to the doctor and he wanted me to do a little test. He wanted me to compare my night vision with someone else. His main reason being sometimes people can over-analyze too much and he wanted a comparison.

Sounds like something I would do. Pretty ingenious “experiment” if you ask me. ;)

So I did the test and my roommate could not see shadow detail any better than I could. Perhaps I am seeing normally. I’ve only been able to compare with one other person. I’ll find a few more and see if the results are the same. If they are, that bodes well for me. That means my vision is normal and as good as it was with contacts/glasses!

From here on out I will only update this blog monthly.

3 Month

90 days! 3 months!

So here’s the deal. From my last update you know I was “complaining” about some night visions issues and the comparison my doctor wanted me to do. Aside from my roommate, I didn’t compare with anyone else cause I feel like I don’t have those night vision problems anymore.

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself it must have been psychosomatic (i.e. my brain was making me think I had issues when I really didn’t), but I swear I had problems! By coincidence it cleared up after my doctor had me do the test. Seriously! ;)

I would say I felt 100% healed and fully functional at the 2.5 month mark.

Other Recovery Timelines

1,411 replies on “My PRK Recovery Timeline”

Hey Alex and everybody! I love this blog about PRK. It had a big influence on my decision to undergo this procedure. Thanks to the success stories I’ve read here, I decided to push through with it. And thanks also to the setbacks that a lot have shared, I also had pretty realistic expectations.

However, thanks to God, the results have so far exceeded my expectations! I’m really happy with the results this early in the recovery stage and I know it will just get better. I’d like to share my experience as encouragement for others out there:

I originally had the following prescription:
Left Eye: -2.5 with 5 Astigmatism
Right Eye: -2.0 with 3 Astigmatism

I decided to get one eye done at a time because I work on a computer and with documents all day and I was worried that the procedure wouldn’t allow me do my daily duties at work (I was only allowed 2 days off from work) and somewhat an insurance feature for myself incase: In case the outcome of the left eye was far from what I was expecting, I wouldn’t have the other one done.

I had my left eye done on 12 Aug 2011. I did not feel any pain during and after the procedure; and after just 8 days, vision has been pretty sharp! I could see well both up close and at a distance. But the difference in grade of my 2 eyes gave me somewhat a hard time. I felt dizzy by the end of my 9-hr shift at work. These 2 factors led me to having the right eye (my dominant eye) done last Friday, 26 Aug 2011.

Saturday, about 1:00 a.m., the bandage contact lens folded in my eye and the pain was excruciating. I was so worried since it was still in my eye and I was advised never to take it off. I just kept blinking and eventually the lens came out. The pain was still there though manageable when the eye was kept closed. I had to wait 8 hrs till the clinic opened to have a new one inserted. (has this happened to any of you…?)

This happened a 2nd time Monday at about 3:00 a.m. This time, I went ahead and reinserted the lens because I was afraid of feeling the pain I had felt the last time. I was also worried that the 2 instances would have a negative effect in my long term vision improvement. I prayed to God so hard that I believe he has answered them.

It’s been 5 days since I had the right eye done and my vision in this eye is not yet that clear. I was mostly relying on my left eye for seeing and the right eye has just been for 3D rendering. Today, it is much better than the previous days. Up close is fairly good, but distance is not quite there yet. I know that this will get better and better and I’m hoping it would be sooner rather than later.

I will have a check-up tomorrow and I’m hoping for good news from my doctor. I have been worried about getting an infection from reinserting the contact lens but since I don’t feel any pain and the vision has been improving, I am very hopeful that this would not be an issue. In the meantime, I just keep praying to God that He bless my eyes and heals them quickly.

I pray that all of you who have experienced setbacks are feeling better and that you heal quickly and without complications.

* P.S. – This is my first time ever to post a comment on a blog site so please forgive me if it is too long or anything. And thank you for taking the time out to read this ☺

I feel honored to have your first comment be on this blog. ;)

And yikes for all the scares with the bandage lens folding over/coming out! That never happened to me.

Appreciate your comment. Definitely let us know how the rest of your healing goes!

Hi Alex and everybody! So I finished my check-up awhile ago. When I told my doctor that I reinserted the contact lens when it came out the 2nd time, I got some mild scolding from him hehe ☺

I told him I was worried about an infection from my DIY attempt with the contact lens but he told me if it was infected, it would hurt a lot and be very bloodshot. He took a closer look using the slit lamp and confirmed that there was no infection. He also took out the contact lens.

My vision in the left eye is the same as yesterday, up close is fairly good, but distance is not quite there yet. I hope it catches up with my left eye soon. That would be awesome!

I’ll keep you guys posted on the progress in 2 weeks after my next check-up. Till then I will keep praying for quick healing for all of us who have undergone this procedure. God bless you. ☺

Hi Everybody!

I had my checkup last Friday and I got good news. I’m now seeing 20/20 in both eyes! Whooohoooo!! ☺

The doctor did say that my eyes were slightly dry and that I should continue using Systane Ultra to lubricate them. I was guilty as charged cause I was trying to only use them when needed. So I am back to using the drops 3 – 4 times a day.

I continue to thank God for my recovery and pray for full healing for all of us who have experienced PRK .

Thank you guys for listening!

The doctor did not see any changes in my eyes, I am still at 20/40 on both eyes. He has scheduled me for an adjustment on October 21st. He said that this adjustment will not be mano it is called hyper PRK for farsightedness. I am a little scared because it is not guaranteed that I will be 20/20, but he said that I will be able to see better from distance and be able to read labels at the supermarket. I am going to continue to pray for a complete recovery. I asked him would I be going through the same process as when I originally did PRK and he said yes, that I will be experiencing some pain and it may be a few days before I can see clearly. Will keep you posted.
Thanks for asking!!

I feel your pain. I am at 5 1/2 months and my vision six weeks ago was at 20/40 perfect if I wear my reading glasses all the time. I too am very frustrated and I have an appointment on Saturday, August 27th and the Doctor mentioned do Mono vision (one eye for reading and one for distance) but in speaking to others, I am not going to do this. I will let you all know what he tells me on Saturday. My vision as improved a lot, since I first did the PRK on March11,2011; but I was expecting 20/20 by now. I need reading glasses all time when I am at the computer and for reading. I even need them at the supermarket because I can’t see the labels or anything from a distance. The doctor did mention that I may need an adjustment but I am now afraid to do so. I will post another comment after my eye appointment.

I’m at 16 days after PRK. About 10 days in, I was seeing pretty well. Then both eyes were blurry and have stayed that way for the last 6 days. The Dr. thinks it dry eye related, so I’ve been steadily feeding them drops per his instruction. I have a follow up visit next week.

Has anyone else experienced a set back 10 days after the procedure as I did? Any ideas as to what may be going on? It’s driving me crazy!!!

heya john! thanks for commenting!

as for the set back, that’s pretty common! i experienced one about that time period.

one of the commenters here described the healing process as three steps forward, two steps back. that pretty much sums it up.

so don’t worry too much when it happens. it’s completely normal.

i tell people to wait about three months before you start thinking too much about how your eyes are doing. your eyes go on such a roller coaster ride during that period that it’s not worth stressing out so early in the healing process.

Had my next check up this week. 20/25 in right eye, 20/40 in left, but I could only get there if they freshly re-wet my eyes. When they looked at my eyes, they saw no sign of dry-eye, though. Is it weird that my vision improved with re-wetting, but I don’t have dry eye symptoms?

They also mentioned I was behind the normal recovery time frame they’ve seen (I’m at 3 weeks since PRK). And it may be several more weeks of very slow improvement until I get closer to 20/20 (hopefully I’ll get to 20/20!! Who knows.) But from reading this blog, 3 weeks is still early in the recovery process. I wonder why there’s such a difference in recovery time-frame expectations (??).

Very slow…….very frustrating……

The varied healing times is probably related to how unique each human body is.

Each person reacts to the procedure and heals differently because of it. At least that’s what seems to make sense in my head. ;)

I am on my 4th week after PRK in both eyes. I am so discouraged. My right eye is ok, but my left eye is blurry. I now have Blepharitis in my eyes as well. Does anyone have this? My eyes sting and burn and the light hurts terribly. I feel I have to wear my sunglasses in and out of the house. The florescent lights at school hurt the worse and I start back to teach next week. I have really been uplifted by your comments, everyone, and it is nice to know I am not the only one going through all this with PRK. Ugh!

Hang in there Kimberly! While it does sound like you’ve had a rougher recovery than is typical, there’s still plenty of recovery time left!

As you’ve probably read here, a lot of times it goes from bad to good over the course of a few days.

So don’t give up hope yet!

Hello everyone,

I am 5 month post op and yes I can say that my eyes have improved since the surgery in March 2011. But my upclose vision is not good and I am not able to see the computer without my reading glasses. I have an appointment scheduled for August 27, 2011 and my doctor suggested for me to get an adjustment since my distance vision is not as good as I would like I am at 20/40 now in both eyes. If I wear my reading glasses all the time I would see 20/20 they help with reading and distance (this is strange to me) but this would defeat the purpose of wearing glasses which why I had the surgery to not wear glasses or contact lenses…..anyway my doctor is suggesting me to get mono vision. I am not sure if I want this and so I am asking is there anyone who has had an adjustment and have they had a mono vision (which is one eye for distance and one eye for reading). Please write back and let me know. Thanks!!

I now have monovision and I love it . I dont need reading glasses and I dont need glasses for driving except for night. I am undergoing a treatment for one eye because of overcorrecting. I t is called clapics, I wear a soft contact lens continuously 24 hours a day and put acular in four times a day. I have been doing this for about 6 weeks now and the doctor says I ave improved 33 percent. the lens has a prescription of +.5 but when I have it in i feel as though my vision is perfect. It seems to take away the ghosting that I still have but doctor wants to try another month and see if I keep improving. If I were you I would try simulating monovision with a contact lens to see if you can tolerate this. I think you might be farsighted now if you can see far with reading glasses. Ask your doctor about clapics as this is a nonsurgical way to treat it. If it doesnt work you can always have the surgery!

It’s been a month and a half since my surgery at Ft. Riley. My left eye has improved, albeit not dramatically. I am still looking forward to the next few months. FYI for all recent patients. Keep those drops coming! My doc said the only thing she noticed when she checked my eye 1 month post op was dryness, which was causing mild irritation and visual blurriness. I’ve been doing 4 drops a day and I can tell the difference immediately as the weeks go by. Next appt is my 3 month post op.

Thank you Alex for documenting your experience it has really helped me keep perspective of my progress after having PRK. Here is my story so far:
Day 1. Just as you, when the doc put the drops in right after the laser I was able to see clearly. Even for the rest of that day when I put in the eye drops things became crisp and sharp, better then with my glasses.
Days 2-4 things were just a little blurry.
Day 5 was the worst day. It was very blurry. It looked as if I had opened my eyes under water in a pool! This was by far the worst vision I have ever had in my life. This was when I got nervous, but I remembered this blog and others like this and relaxed. It was so bad I had to jack up the screen resolution on my laptop and have my face about 6-8 inches away from the screen just to read Facebook posts!
Day 6-7 got better similar vision to days 2-4 just blurry, but not as extreme as day 5.
Day 8 the contacts came out. The Doc says my vision is about 20/30. I had been noticing a kind of haze the preceding week. When the contacts came out the haze went away. I guess having the contacts in for a week while putting in all of those drops created that effect. I teach a martial art called Capoeira where we do a lot of spinning and acrobatics. This was the first day I was able to exercise and I was thrilled. I did not notice any negative effects while training.
It is now day 9. I can honestly say that my vision is better then it was before the surgery, and when I put in the eye drops everything becomes crystal clear. For the few seconds right after the drops go in I have perfect vision! Everything is sharp and clear, and then things just get a little blurry. I know it has only been 9 days since the surgery but those glimpses of clarity and sharpness give me hope that this was a great decision.

Thanks again

I concur with Celeste!

My custom PRK recovery after RK was a little rough but my vision is now a solid 20/15 with no astigmatism.  Best money I have ever spent….5 months post operative on my left eye and 4 weeks post op on my right.

Life is good and God is great!

Steve from Scottsdale

I have a general question for those of you who are fully recovered. It seems that for many people (and me) during the recovery phase, when you put in artificial tears your vision is very sharp and clear for a few seconds. For those of you who are fully recovered, would you say that your current vision is pretty much what you saw for those few seconds back when you were recovering?

That is very encouraging to hear. I went out shopping today and every time I wanted to see something across the store I would just put in a drop in each eye and presto. For a few seconds I could read the signs on the other side of Best Buy. It was in my opinion better vision then i had when I wore my glasses. Then when I blinked it would get blurry again. If that is the vision I have to look forward to on a permanent basis I will be extremely happy.

It seems like this post has become a place for lots of people who have had some pretty horrible recoveries. I just wanted to post again about my amazing recovery so that people who are considering PRK and reading this know that it’s not all bad. While it seems like I was one of the very lucky ones, know that it can go very smoothly! I just had my 3 month post-op and my doc was amazed that I could make out 3 of the 4 letters on the 20/10 line, my vision is very sharp. I do sometimes have trouble with bright lights (fireworks were hard this year) and eye fatigue but over all it is the best money I’ve ever spent on myself!!! My prayers are with all of you still recovering, but have hope it can be perfect :)

Hi I just had PRK a week ago and I am experiencing ghosting and blurriness especially for objects up close. Its very frustrating but I’m hanging in there. My doctor said that my recovery is normal and from reading these posts, I see that many people experience this. Does everyone see better outside than inside like me? My prescription was -9 in both eyes so my recovery will take time. I hope my vision gets a little better cause now I’m using the steroid drops 2 times a day instead of 4.

Interesting. I can’t remember being able to tell a difference between my indoor/outdoor vision.

Thanks Alex and everyone for your comments and experiences. While I am discouraged at how long a process this will likely be, I am thankful that the situation seems to be similar for many.

Hello Amy,

I had my PRK done in March 11, 2011 and I had the contact lens in my eyes for 3 months. He just took them off about 6 weeks ago and my vision is 20/40. I can not read or see the computer without reading glasses, i was seeing perfect with the contact lens. My distance is not that great either but it;s gotten better than the first month or so. He is now going to do an ajustment. He was waiting for the 6month recovery time to see if my vision came in on it;s own but it has totally not. I can’t wait for this to happen. I too have been very frustrated but everyone is saying to be patient so I have to put in God’s hands and continue to pray for a complete recovery. I hope this puts you at ease as for me reading everyone’s stoies has totally help me and I don’t feel so alone. Take Care and God Bless!

This is an update ..I am about 10 weeks out, I went to doctor yesterday and I still have double vision and am farsighted (+2) so I can see pretty good very far away but things five feet away are blurry! Luckily I did one eye at a time otherwise I wouldnt be able to function!The doctor put a contact lens in and I have to put acular drops in four times a day. he said this should help speed up the process of taking away the farsightedness. The contact lens has actually helped with the ghosting but still cant read with that eye(there is only a tiny presciption (+.o5) so I think the contact lens has helped smooth out the cornea. He said I should do this for a month. Has anyone else done this? He also said I should give it till November before the healing is done.

has anyone else worn the contact lens for a month? if that’s the question, not me. mine were out (and stayed out) as scheduled.

Yes, I insisted on a contact for my left eye to wear occasionally because it’s still difficult to see to drive even after 10 weeks. The right eye, according to the doc still has “scarring” and neither a contact or even my old glasses makes a difference. That eye is blurry both near and far. The left eye is still fine for reading/up close, but blurry far. I wear the contact when I’m not at work because i can’t see the computer or read with it in. I go back next week and I suspect I will have to schedule the right eye redone, because there has been absolutely no change since day one and because i can’t see close either, i say it’s even worse. I would never do both eyes again at the same time. The whole experience has been frustrating because I am one of the 5% I’m told that it just didn’t work – lucky me!!

I’ve been waiting to write this, as I don’t know 100% where I’m at – at the moment. However, I have made a lot of progress since the last post, so I thought I would update.

Today is 80 days, 11.5 weeks since PRK on my left eye only. I had successful Lasik in December on the right eye. After two flap complications on successive attempts on my left / dominant eye one in December (day after right-eye lasik) and one on second attempt 04/23/11 – we ended up doing PRK that day.

A month ago, on 06/10/11 I had a routine visit with the surgeon, and he was positive. He said ‘enjoy your near vision while you can’ That’s the nature of what I had, correction for distance vision, and there is a planned slight over correction which gives you good near vision at first which fades to good far vision and the near vision goes (and you are back to needing reading glasses). However, I was still having strong ghosting at that point (7 weeks out) on my distance vision, basically as strong as it was on day 1, with almost no change. So, I was skeptical that this was going to work out. The optometrist said I had an astigmatism (surgically induced obviously – as I had little to none before) and that was what was causing it. He had said ‘let’s hope’ when I asked if it was going to go away!

So I had another appointment with just the optometrist on the June 22nd. Just before that visit I noticed something changing in my eye, but it was still very ghosted. However, in the ten days after that visit, basically to July 1, my distance vision improved greatly and – and I still don’t trust this – but the ghosting is gone! So, right now, I have a solid 20/20 in the PRK eye (distance) and can even read some of the 20/15!

So, very pleased with this part of it, and still confused / amazed that the ghosting double-vision just vanished as it did. So everyone, hang in there!

My concern at the moment, is that as the distance vision came in the near vision really took a hit. Way bigger than I was expecting. So my near vision in that eye is not very good. I sort of feel the astigmatism just swapped from distance to near vision. My right / lasik eye can still see well in the distance and has pretty good near vision too… while my PRK eye has slightly better distance vision and not very good near vision. So I would say the PRK eye gets a 9/3 for distance and near vision, while the Lasik eye gets a 8/7. So Lasik = 15 points, PRK = 12

I’m told the machine they use to measure your prescription, with the little hot air balloon inside doesn’t work as well once you have laser surgery. So, it may be reading all over the scale, but it still says I have astigmatism. But the optometrist applied those settings from that machine to my eyes, and I couldn’t see a thing! So, he did the 1, 2, 1, 3, 3, 4 eye test and I came out with zero prescription being the best! So, that was pretty cool. But the near vision is definitely odd.

They said I have a touch of dry-eye again (was really a problem first month) and perhaps that is affecting the near vision. I can feel that eye being dry, and it’s a bit irritated at the moment. If this is as good as it gets it will probably be OK. I’m a go-karter, and I can now race w/out glasses, and that was the main goal. But I was expecting pretty even eyes, just as I had before, and right now my PRK eye is not very good up close. I’ll report back again with any changes… – Gene

thanks for the update. if it’s any consolation, it still sounds like your eyes are healing (based on the drastic vanishing of the ghosting). i definitely experienced swings in my vision which indicate healing hasn’t finalized yet. hopefully that means there’s still some healing that will leave the distance vision intact while making the near vision better!

I had my PRK surgery June 14th, 2011. I am currently in week 3 of the recovery phase and my right eye is probably 20/20 while my left eye is taking a bit longer to catch up. I noticed when I look at objects or my television at certain angles from my left eye, it’s 20/20 but when I look head-on it’s noticeably blurry. Of course my eyes are still healing, but I watched the fireworks last night for the first time in a decade without having any glasses on and they were absolutely wonderful. The first week of recovery was a bit scary, not knowing whether or not your eyes were healing correctly. I am still a bit nervous that my left eye will never catch up with the right eye. I always thought; “Well, if my eyes both had PRK the same day, shouldn’t they both be seeing relatively the same as the weeks went on?” I guess it’s not the case. Like I said, 20/20 in right eye, and noticeably blurry in left eye. Anyways, I still have much healing to do. But I had the PRK done with the brand new refractive surgery machine, only took 15 seconds per eye. If anyone has any questions pls let me know. You will never find me complaining either as my surgery was free, paid in full by good ol’ uncle Sam!

Oh, I’ve noticed some people talking about dryness, my eyes were EXTREMELY dry after the contact bandages were taken out, especially while looking at a computer screen. I went through SO many eyedrops it’s rediculous.

-J

Can’t beat free PRK!

And don’t worry if both eyes don’t heal at the same rate. Just as each eye is independent of the other, so is the healing. And it’s fine if one ultimately isn’t as “good” as the other cause combined they will be better than individually. For example, my left eye is 20/15 now while my right is only 20/20. But together I’m seeing 20/15.

Hi Nelda and Wendy,

Be patient and hang in there…it takes about 5 months before your vision gets crystal clear. I just had my right eye done a week ago and I am 20/40 or so right now. You vision will fluctate significantly for the first 3 months and then settle down in month 4 and month 5 is the break through month. Be sure to put the natural tears in your eyes each hour and take at least 2000mg of Vitamin C each day to enhance the healing process.

Steve,
Thanks so much for your encouraging words as I am still a little discouraged. After my doctor said a touch up I keep thinking, “oh no this is going to take even longer,” but it sounds like that might not be the case. I hope he will wait past the 3 month period just to see if they do clear before we do a touch up. I have been taking the Vitamin C but not as much as you have suggested. I have just filled the Restasis today so I’m hoping that will help with the dry eye better than the otc drops. They help but I hope the Restasis will be even better.

Alex, thank you, thank you for creating this site. You have no idea what a help this has been. You are a true disciple!
Nelda

Hi Nelda,

Anything I can do to help…my thoughts and prayers are with you! If you have any questions or concerns you can contact me directly at ramsthel@yahoo.com

Have a great day!

Steve

Thanks Nelda.

And a big thanks to all who have been commenting and responding to questions. You guys and gals are all super stars in my book! ;)

I had PRK after RK (RK from 1983) on Jan 24, 2011 and now (July 4, 2011) have 20/15 and no astigmatism. I started with 20/40 vision and +3.00 astigmatism which made night driving very difficult.

I am so glad that I had a Wavefront Custom PRK!! I now see in with HD vision…thank God for modern technology!

Leslie,

Thank you!! I am hanging in there. I am so happy to have found this site because I would have thought I was the only person going through this especially since I know people that have had both Lasik and PRK and they are fine and have not had any of my experiences. I am really trying to only use the reading glasses for just that reading and the computer. I can’t see the computer without them. I don’t want to get into the habit of using them all the time (although I see so much better with them on for distance too). July 11th will be my 4th month so I will continue to think positively and put it all in God’s hands.
Thanks to EVERYONE who posts comments at this site, it has truly been an answer to pray.

Leslie,

Thank for you comment. My Doctor continues to see me every month since I had the PRK in March 2011 and he tells me all the time that it will get better and that I would be needing an enhancement. I am so happy to know that someone else has gone through this. Did you wear your reading glasses all the time? I am only trying to use them for reading, although I would see so much better with them on for distance too. I have another follow up this July 9th but I don’t think he will do an enhancement until after six months. Thanks for your comment, I do feel so much better to know there is hope.

Wendy,
After a year, I was wearing reading glasses almost all of the time. My husband asked if it was just a habit or if I needed them. Very low strength ones helped with distance, but I stopped wearing them. I needed them for reading and my computer but a little stronger. It has only been a week since I had the enhancement, and I haven’t worn any since. I can’t believe how well I can see now. hang in there, it will get better!

I had PRK last April. My eyes were -8.5 and the healing process was long. I went in for a check up in December and they still were not where I thought they would be. My doctor had me come back in June of this year. Just had a PRK enhancement. It’s one week later and I can see so much better already. Before the “touch-up” I wore reading glasses for reading and distance. I haven’t worn any glasses at all since. I know from experience it will take a while to heal. Things are a little blurry today and eyes feel a little sore or like the have something in them. Still, no glasses! I know it will get even better. When I had the contacts removed, I was at 20/25. It’s all up hill from here!!

I am now at 3 month recovery time and they finally took the contact lens out of my eyes. I wore them for 3 months. The doctor says that I am recovering very slowly. It feels like forever to me. The lens has been out for 2 weeks now and I need reading glasses to use the computer and to read all things can not see at all up close. When I look in the mirror everything is still blurred. My distance vision is also very blurred can not read street signs or see any highway signs as I am driving. I visit the doctor every 4 weeks and he insists that I am improving although I am not confident since I expected this to be a quick process. Don’t get me wrong my eye sight has improved it is just very, very slow.

Hi Geno!
Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I was really down yesterday. You have helped a lot. I’m praying that this will change by the 3 month mark.
Thank you! Thank you!
Nelda

Well, reading all of your comments has really helped me this afternoon. I went for my four week check-up today and my numbers had decreased. Will possibly have to have a touch up when I go back for the three month check-up. Yes, I said many times today, “Why did I do this!!!” I’m so glad many of you have felt the same way. I’m praying that it kicks in before the three month period. I can’t imagine trying to teach with the vision that I had following the first surgery. UGH!!! Your comments have all been very encouraging to know that you have been where I am. Thank you!

Hi Nelda,

I think 4 weeks is a bit too soon to be thinking of ‘tcouch-ups’ and I haven’t heard of them happening at the 3 month point either. Everything I’ve heard is minimum 6 months for the touch ups.

With that said, I think you still have a good shot… most everyone is still struggling at the 1 month point. I’m at 67 days, and I’m just starting to believe it is (and I have to throw in some disclaimers) essentially all good. My eye (only did the left PRK) is really getting good right now, and it’s all happened in two weeks. On the 8th I was certain I would need a touch-up, at the 15th I was noticing things were changing, and since Saturday it’s been pretty good…!!

So hang in there for at least another month (or two) and you’ll probably have quite a bit of change going on… ;-)

I had PRK in my right eye (-7.5, dominant eye) 2 weeks ago today. I found this blog a few days after the surgery, and I’ve revisited it a few times since after thinking “Did I make a mistake in doing this? WHY did I mess with an eye that was perfectly fine (with contacts or glasses) before this surgery? I can never go back!” Once again, thank you for bringing me back from the brink of helplessness, both in reading Alex’s original timeline and the comments. At this point I have little to no discomfort, aside from occasional dryness in the eye, and the intense light sensitivity of the first week is much better. I am frustrated, and frankly a little anxious, about how blurry and unclear my eye still is. I also have quite a bit of ghosting. My vision is definitely WAY better than the -7.5 it was pre-surgery, but it is far from as clear as my left eye (-8.25) is with a contact lens in. From reading these posts, I know that I have to be patient, patient, patient, but that is easier said than done, especially when I start psyching myself out and wondering if I made a horrible mistake in doing this elective surgery. I was also really hoping that my right eye would be in good shape by about 6 weeks out from the surgery so that I could get my left eye done and give it a good month of healing time before I’m back to work again (off for the summer, as I’m a teacher) and now I’m feeling like that might not happen.

I guess I’m just looking for some reassurance from those who have been there! I’m also wondering, does it seem to anyone that the worse your original prescription (mine was “getting up there,” as the optometrist said) the longer the healing and the worse the side effects in the first month?

Hehe, welcome to the “oh man, did I make a mistake club.” ;)

I’m pretty sure most of us have the same thought after you realize how slowly the healing process actually is.

You are still very early in the healing process. I would even consider six weeks early. With you doing one eye at a time, do you think you could still function as a teacher with the way things are right now?

As for how bad your initial prescription is as it relates to healing/side effects, I’m not sure. I know David S just posted a comment and had a -13 prescription. He’s a month post-op and sounds like his healing has gone very well.

Hi Karissa, I certainly understand your frustrations but like Alex said, you are VERY early in the recovery process. At two weeks post-op, I was seeing 20/30 but it was not a “good” 20/30. My vision was still very blurry and I had ghosting. I am now one month post-op and things are sharper but not as sharp as the vision I had with hard contacts. The improvement is slow and steady. I also teach and I start a summer class in two days. I anticipate no problems. I feel confident that you will be ok for the fall session, especially since you had one eye done early.

As far as the relationship between original prescription and post-op recovery, I actually asked that question to my PRK surgeon and he told me my recovery would not be significantly different (although he wanted to see me post-op more often than other patients with lower prescriptions). My post-op experience seems to fall in the range of what I am reading online so I guess what he said was right. Remember my original prescription was -13.

I also had a -7.5 and I am 8 weeks out. I saw the doctor yesterday and he said I am overcorrectted + 1.75 I also have alot of ghosting and double vision. He took me off the pred forte (from 3x a day) to hopefully correct the farsightedness and he says the ghosting is from my cornea still healing and very dry eyes but he thinks that will eventually go away. It is VERY frustrating and slow. I would wait to do the other eye until the first one heals enough so you can function with it. I went for 10 years with one eye -8 and the other 20/30 (from a lasik procedure) until I found a doctor I felt comfortable with.

I’m with Amy, I would wait till I was 100% comfortable with the one eye before I scheduled the 2nd. I only did one eye PRK (other Lasik) and I would have been out of commission for a month if both eyes were like the one.

I’m at 66 days, and my eyes have been changing big time in the last 10 days to 2 weeks. I’ll post more after my next Dr visit on the 8th, but the ghosting, (and I can’t hardly believe it), seems almost gone! :-). Two weeks ago I was down, convinced and loathing I would need some other procedures or a touch-up to fix this…

Thank you for all of the comments. They are all helpful and encouraging. After ruminating and fretting about this last night, which culminated in my post here, I am fully of the decision, reinforced by Amy’s comment, that I will wait until my right eye is clear and able to fully take over before I get my left eye done. If that means waiting until December or March or next summer when I have a break from school to do it, then that’s fine. There is no way that I could drive or teach with the vision that I have right now in my right eye in both eyes. Right now with my blurry/ghosted right eye (which measured 20/30 at my 5-day post op visit, but seems worse to me the last few days) and a contact in my left eye, I’m fine in terms of daily activities, including driving since the day after the surgery 2 weeks ago. My left eye with a contact has just taken over. Reading is definitely tiring, and I find myself closing my right eye a lot and just reading with my left.

Amy, your comment about having a -8 eye and a 20/30 eye for 10 years is amazing to me since that’s basically where I am right now. Did you just wear a contact in the one eye or have glasses made with very low prescription in the one eye and huge thick lens in the other? I popped the right lens out of one of my pairs of glasses for when I take my contact out at night, and it is enough to drive me insane. My left eye focusing with the glasses and my right eye somewhat out of focus/blurry/ghosting is a recipe for headaches. I feel like I’m in a house of mirrors or something! No reading with those glasses on, for sure! It’s much better with the contact in, but I need a break from my contact, and the crazy one-lens glasses do not give me a good break!

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your responses. I will definitely check back in again!

Karissa,
I also tried the one lens glasses and it never worked. I just wore my contact lens until ready for bed and I couldnt read after I took it out either but didnt want to take a chance on the surgery until I was sure it would work. The eye with the contact lens was a perfect 20/20 so I could drive at night. Also before the next surgery you will need to keep your contact lense out for at least a week and because of not being able to wear glasses because of the difference of prescription you are totally dependent on the other eye! I waited a year before I did the second eye!

Since we are giving our one eye stories! :-)

I had Lasik in December succefully on the right eye (as I was too scared to do both at once) but since that evening I could see so well, I went for the second eye on the next day. That’s when we had the first flap problem. Thus I had to wait 4 months before we could do the Lasik again. (Which had the 2nd flap problem, and thus the PRK that day).

But for those 4 months I had no problem with my poked out glasses. I only wore CVS glasses anyway, and I just poked out the right eye, and used the left. After about six weeks the DR gave me two pairs of prescription glasses, one for reading / the computer, the other for distance and I wore those for the remaining months.

My left eye was basically normal, good with my normal glasses I had been wearing all during those 4 months, so I had a good chance to compare my healing Lasik right-eye to a known entitiy (since I didn’t have the correction applied to the left). And then after 4 months, and the right-eye was good and a known entitiy, I had the PRK and now I can compare that eye to the Lasik eye, which was as good as the corrected left eye before… so I’ve actually enjoyed having these comparisons.

This blog and all the comments have been very helpful for me. I thought I would describe my experience since my nearsightedness was very extreme. I had a prescription of nearly -13 in both eyes when I decided to have PRK. I had two consults: one doctor wouldn’t recommend either LASIK or PRK, and one doctor said he would do PRK but would slightly undercorrect my vision due to my extreme prescription. I was wearing hard contacts so I had to leave them out for 6 weeks before the PRK procedure. The procedure went well. The postop discomfort and pain were not too bad and I managed it with the various drops/painkillers that were provided. I was able to go back to work after five days (I do a lot of work on the computer but it wasn’t too bad) and I felt comfortable enough to drive seven days postop. I felt comfortable enough to drive at night 10 days postop. Two weeks postop, I was seeing 20/30 in both eyes. However, as Alex notes in his experience, I had a lot of blurriness so things were not clear or sharp. I am now exactly one month postop. Things are sharper than the two week mark but there is still blurriness/fuzziness. Also, my right eye (dominant) vision is currently better than my left. Things are slowly improving so I am optimistic about the future. Considering I was -13 before surgery, this has been an amazing experience. I have gone swimming and played basketball without any problems. Thanks, Alex, for posting your experience and encouraging comments from others!

Wow, -13 in both eyes! I think this is the largest correction I’ve heard about, so it’s great for others to read your post-op progress. Would definitely appreciate follow-up comments as you heal! Thanks!

I am now six weeks post-op. My right eye has gotten better to the point where I am pretty sure it is close to 20/20 (I’ve hung up a couple of eyecharts in my office to monitor my progress). My left eye is still lagging quite a bit where I believe it is still around 20/30 or maybe 20/25. My vision is still fuzzy, with my left eye being quite a bit worse. Last week I had headaches for several days in a row, which I attribute to my changing vision. I go in for a follow-up in one week. I will post again at that time.

I had a follow-up on July 13, which was just about seven weeks post-op. With both eyes, I could see the 20/25 line pretty well and also a couple of letters from the 20/20 line. Things are still not sharp though. I didn’t get each eye tested separately but while I was waiting alone in the exam room after the vision test, I checked my eyes myself (they left the chart up) and confirmed that my right eye is really the reason I can see that well. My left eye is still lagging but slowly getting better. The doctor was very pleased with my progress and said I am doing much better than he expected (which kind of makes me wonder what exactly he was expecting at this point!). I guess considering I was -13 to begin with, I am doing well. He noticed my eyes are a little dry so he might put in some dissolvable punctal plugs at my next visit in three weeks. Thanks again to Alex for this blog. This seems to have become a sort of gathering and commiserating place for PRK “recoverers”!

Just adding another update. I am now 11 weeks post-op starting with an original prescription of -13. I had a check-up last week and I was 20/25 in each eye. Everything is still fuzzy though. If you look at my previous comments, you’ll notice that my right eye was getting better. About three weeks ago, however, my right eye actually started getting worse. Not really sure what that was all about, but my right eye is now slowly improving again. The doctor put in some collagen dissolvable punctal plugs and they seemed to help so I’m thinking at my next visit he will put in some permanent ones. Still looking forward to better vision. I see a sharp 20/20 for a few seconds after putting in drops so that’s what I’m hoping for eventually. A possible reason for my persistent fuzziness is that I am still on steroid drops. The doc says that because of my severe correction, I’ll need to be on steroid drops for a longer time.

Thank you Alex and all for sharing your experience. I’ll have my PRK in 3 days. I think I am prepared but I won’t know yet until then.

Hi Alex, et al.

This ended up a bit long, so if you want to cut it, no problem. :-)

Thought I would update my status, today is Saturday, (6/25) 63 days out, 9 weeks exactly since the surgery.

Quick Recap: I had PRK 4/23/11 on just my left eye, after two Lasik attempts with flap issues (including a flap issue the day of PRK) I last reported at 5 weeks out, and I had a bad eye day. I had a seriously dry eye problem the first few weeks, and at the 1 month visit, the surgeon gave me a bottle of preservative free steroid from his own backroom stash! :-) So, I have been using this 4 times a day since.

I had a visit with the surgeon again two weeks ago and he said I could go off the steroid cold turkey. I came off gradually though over a week’s time, 2 drops a day for 4 days, then 1 drop a day for the same finishing last Sunday. That steroid was much easier on the eye than the normal one.

I had a visit with his Optometrist Wednesday and the good news is the dry eye is going away. He said he didn’t see anything, and my eyes have been feeling better too, so I think that is going away. I’m still doing Restasis twice a day (since my first Lasik eye – six months now), and use only preservative free drops. Refresh Plus, Systane Ultra and Theratears Liquid gel quite regularly during the day, but not as much as I was. (Probably once an hour maybe less now down from every 15minutes!!). He also said I had no hazing or scar tissue, and if he didn’t know my history, he couldn’t see anything at all with this eye. My prescription is still off a bit, but I did read the 20/25 chart.

I’m tentative to say this, as it still seems I’m at about 75% in that eye, but I am seeing better now, but not great or where I want to be-. I still have the ghosting, and this is the biggest concern. 3 weeks ago I was down and certain I was going to need a touch-up and was dreading doing the PRK healing again, but now I’m not as sure. The Opt. tells me I have some astigmatism now… that is most disturbing, as I didn’t have any before, and he thinks it’s what’s causing the ghosting, and he said ‘let’s hope’ it goes away! So, that has been my bummer. But I will say it is less now, in the last 10 days.

One thing is for sure… my eyes are changing now, and… dare I say, changing for the better… OK, ok, I go to breakfast every morning, and there is a clinic across the street with a bunch of writing on the windows, and I could actually see that writing today better with my left than my right!! But it comes and goes it seems. (+3steps / -2steps). When you are farsighted (and older – 58) like me, Lasik/PRK treatment involves a sort of over-correction, so you can actually see near at first not so good in the distance, and then after some weeks/months, that fades, and the far vision comes in. So, it’s sort of a double-whammy: the PRK plus the correction is not what you are looking for right away (IE: perfect far vision, probably will need glasses for reading). Thus the across the street test on the building… I did the same for my Lasik eye, and that took about a month to come in…

So I’m hoping the astigmatism goes away now that my eye is healing. There is less significant ghosting now, and I can almost read the menu on my large-screen from the couch, and that is almost the most obvious deficiency right now… it’s still at about 70% – but making improvements.

So, actually Alex has helped me tremendously. I had written last time, that I was giving it three months of main healing and three months of secondary healing, and Alex responded with: “Sounds like you’re got healthy expectations on the recovery time!” DRAT! Because he said the positive, I kept thinking back on that, and had to live up to it and my own words, so thanks Alex.

I may be on the right track here… let’s give it another month, and see where we are at.

Hiya Geno! Thank’s so much for posting an update! I know your experiences will encourage others and help them have a “healthy expectation” as well.

Glad to hear there’s some progress!

Thank you for writing this blog! I am 4 days into the healing process from my PRK surgery and its great having your comments on here to compare too. I am already seeing better than before but distances are still blurry. It seems I just need to stay patient since it’s still very soon after surgery. But, thanks again for this blog!

Good to hear you’re doing well. Just wondering whether you had a really bad day out of the first four?!

The day of and the day after were tough. After that, I had very little problem with tearing and no major issues to light sensitivity. My right eye is still a little blurry. I haven’t driven yet, but have alot of you experience issues with night vision?

I hope others share their night vision results with you, but as for me, mine were minimal (if nonexistent).

From reading some of the other comments, it seems to vary; some have issues which clear up and others (like myself) don’t have any.

Thanks for dropping by! As you’ve probably read, the PRK recovery game is ultimately a game in patience. ;)

Forgot to thank you Alex for the blog! Day 5 now and apart from the gritty feeling in her eyes, she seems a lot better. She says both eyes feel about the same even though only one has the contact bandage.

It has been 7 weeks now and although they say I. Am 20/25 I still. Can’t read because of the severe ghosting. I can make out the letters on the chart but there r. Two of them and some are light and some are wavy. Driving when its. Sunny outside is fine but inside is blurry if I put on reading glasses it makes the double vision better and I can see farther! I wonder how long this can take to clear up?

From all the posts I have read here it seems you need to give it about 3 months and in some cases up to 6 months to get the final result. Hope it clears up sooner rather than later for you.

Hang in there Amy, I think 7 weeks was (after the initial freak-out) a very difficult time (two weeks ago for me) in particular as the ghosting was still as intense as ever, but the general blurriness had improved. I think my ghosting is improving now, I’m feeling a bit more positive on that. This in the last 10 days or so…

As others have said, hang in there!

I saw my vision my improve on the Snellen chart (20/25, 20/20, etc.) but stuff like sharpness and clarity still wasn’t there until later in the healing process. So know what you’re experiencing is normal. There’s a good chance a lot of your ghosting will clear up!

I took my daughter back to the Dr this morning as one eye was really bad. He put a contact back in that eye and she’s feeling better now. Said it was friction causing the pain. There’s still a lot of irritation but at least bearable. This is day 4 by the way.

w00t! it’s a great feeling, congrats!

it’s been nine months for me, but i still have moments when i marvel at how awesome it is not to have glasses/contacts.

Elsa- Have her try ice packs. I had about 36 hours of quite a bit of pain and ice packs directly on my eyes was by far the best remedy. Bags of peas are great or something moldable like that. Wishing her quick relief!

Well she had the contact bandages removed this evening and she is in agony. Feels like glass or acid in the eyes. She is continuing with the drops and has been taking Cataflam for the pain. Currently in great distress. Hope tomorrow will be better!

My daughter had prk in both eyes 3 days ago. The doctor said he would remove the contact bandage this evening. Her eyes have been very uncomfortable, burning sensation plus light sensitivity. We had no idea that the recovery time could be so long. We know of many people who have had the surgery from the same doctor and didn’t hear any horror stories. Obviously it’s early days but I’m hoping she’ll be one of the luckier ones with a quick recovery time.

Yup, PRK recovery is no fun like that. :(

Just remember, the recovery process is two steps forward, one step back. One day you’ll be seeing great, the next it’ll be horrible.

So tell your daughter not to worry/analyze her vision for at least the first month or two. ;)

Alex, Thank you so much for your blog. It is has been very helpful to me. I had PRK June 2, 2011 and there are times I’m regretting this, but I go back and read your blog and it helps to know that you and others have experienced the same as I have. I have the “ghosting” and the blurred vision. I am an instrumentalists at my church (reading my music hasn’t been too bad with readers) and when I move to my seat and look at the congregation I can’t begin to identify people. That is frustrating. I had no pain following my surgery and the doctor has been very pleased with my progress, but it is still frustrating to get outside of my house and not be able to focus on things at a distance like I could with my glasses. I go for my 4 week check-up next week and I hope by then things are sharper. He said it should be. Of course, this is a test of patience. I am a teacher so I hope and pray by the time school begins in Aug. that this is much better otherwise I won’t be able to see the children in the back of the room. :) I am hesitant to get the Restasis as I don’t won’t to have to be on it forever. At the present time I am using OTC drops. They help with the dry eye. It’s encouraging that you felt that you had 100% at 2.5 months. That’s what I’m hoping for. There are times when I feel good about it and at other times I feel I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life. My doctor says I won’t regret it.
You are very encouraging. Thanks for being a Barnabas! You know who he is don’t you?

Yup, I know about Barnabas the Encourager! Thanks for your kind words.

It sounds like you’re going through a similar process as myself. I didn’t have any pain, but did have early problems with focusing at a distance.

But they did clear up. So I’m sure you’ll be fine when classes start again.

Had my 5 week to the day appointment Saturday. It was not a very good eye day, as it was quite dry, and that is what we are working on.

So, my prescription was off, and not as good as previously. They didn’t even discuss it with me. The fogginess is lifting, but because of the ghosting / overlapping images, things are still not clear or of good quality.

Dr. gave me his own private stash of a preservative free steroid in place of the Durezol I’ve been taking 4 times a day as he thought maybe the preservative was irritating the eye. Certainly it does burn/sting for awhile after I had taken it. This new steroid is very easy on the eye, I don’t feel anything from it.

So, it’s Tuesday now, and I had a good eye night last night, and most of the day today, perhaps the best day I’ve had. In fact, I had pretty clear vision driving to the coffee shop this morning. So that was a nice treat. Had some other moments of clarity today also. Perhaps the new steroid is helping?

The ghosting is still there of course, I was out this evening, and was in a parking lot looking at the lit up Wells Fargo sign against the dark sky, and there were some heavy ghosting going on there.. so that was a bit disturbing.

But I’m planning on three months of major recovery, then three months of slower/final recovery, and am only just over a month in, but hopefully I won’t have to take two steps back from this recent advance forward… :-)

Sounds like you’re got healthy expectations on the recovery time!

Glad to hear you’ve had some good moments. Those are the times to remember when you take a step back. ;)

And if it makes you feel any better, my night vision problems took the longest to heal…

I’m at 1 month 1 day from PRK, left eye only. I keep coming back and re-reading the posts here! It saves me from more fear and loathing! :-)

I’m doing alright, though my vision is quite blurry and have ghosting / double vision in that eye. I had Lasik done in December on the right eye which went excellently, so well I said OK to doing the left the next day. They cut the flap on the left the next day but it was ‘off center’ so we stopped and let it heal for 4 month, and tried again on 4/23/11. There was a problem with the flap again, so while I was under two Xanax the doctor said we could wait again for some months or do PRK, which I knew little about. I didn’t want to wait again, as it was already a bit trying waiting the original 4 months, so we did the PRK.

Wow! Never would have guessed the patience required for PRK healing. I don’t know how I could have possibly have done both eyes at once.

So anyway, in 4th week. Hoping for the best (my left eye is closed I just noticed as I type this) the ghosting is quite disturbing, but is seems as though others have had it.

I’m hanging in. Dr is positive, so is his colleague who’s looked at it too. They both were happy and said I have no hazing, and they didn’t seem concerned with the ghosting. I’m hoping I’ll get the instruction to stop the Durezol, or cut back from 4 times day. I hear the healing speeds up when you stop the steroids.

One thing is really helpful, to post back again for an update, as we know the drawbacks at certain points, but it’s really helpful to read outcomes at 2 or 3+ months.

Thanks everyone and especially Alex.

Geno

yup. PRK is an exercise in patience. ;)

and not basing the final results on current progress. it’s so up and down. as one commenter put…it’s three steps forward, two steps back. so best not to even think/worry about it until 2 or 3 months into it. ;)

i’ve also heard about the speedier healing once you stop the steroids, so hoping that’s the case for you!

I am on the 3rd day after surgery it is pretty blurry still but better than it was without contacts before ssurgery. at the end of day two i had severe irritation and had to take some meds and go to sleep. Light sensitivity and it was very uncomfortable. i hope it is healing well and It will be 20/20 soon. IU am getting impatient. I know it has only been three days, but still theses are my eyes we are talking about. Has anyone else had that feeling of there being foreign matter in there and it irritaes it pretty bad and they water alot? I hope this is normal!

Yup, the “foreign matter” in the eye is a common part of the healing process.

Read #2 in my reply to an earlier comment.

It has been two weeks since my surgery and I still get the feeling something is in my eye but only once every couple days and I put a lot of bion tears in and that seems to help(maybe the cause is dry eyes?) I am also still very blurry but I have a lot of ghosting so I hope that clears up soon! I am trying to be patient too!

hi.. can i ask what is the pre screening of PRK?what test did you take?
I have a corneal transplant and sadly i have a very high astigmatism. I had to take 2nd opinion from other doctor and recommended to undergo PRK.

i went to three different doctors and for the most part, they all looked at the same things. overall eye health and corneal thickness.

i don’t know what specific tests they did, so that would be something you could ask the doctor. all the pre-screenings were free so it doesn’t hurt to visit a few doctors.

i know i learned some useful things from visiting multiple doctors versus just one.

I wore a contact inmy right eye for two months. Yes- She did have to change to script every two weeks. I could read pretty well with my eyes without contacts, it was the distance and driving that was my biggest issue. PRK was most certainly NOT what I had expected at all. Just know your not alone . . . many, many others have had this experience!!!

Thanks for the advice. I’ll report back after i go for the checkup a week from now. I wish the doc had told me i might need the glasses – i almost threw mine out and actually did toss the contacts i rarely wore anyway (i couldn’t see close up with them). He only mentioned that most likely i would need reading glasses (non prescription) ’cause of my age (50). :)

Ruth- My doctor gave me contacts to help my vision because I need to see clearly to work. I’m eight months post op and some nights I still have blurry vision in my right eye. My eyes ended up 15/15 in my left and 20/30 in my right. Recovery for me was extremely frustrating, however it was worth the end result. Just give it time and patience.

How long did you wear the contacts and did they have to change the prescription as your eyes improved? Also, could you read with the contacts? Yes, time and patience are needed but it’s so hard when our lives are so busy and everything in life is so instantaneous!! except PRK…

I am at week 3 today from PRK and am frustrated! Not clear at all and if i try to wear my glasses it helps my left eye, but fuzzier on the right. Plus I get dizzy if i look left/right too fast. It’s the only way i can drive though, especially at night (cannot see the street signs). Has anyone worn their old glasses or asked for new contacts until everything stabilizes?? I am going to Yosemite in 3 weeks and may have to rely on pictures I take intstead of the real thing!! I don’t think I was fully prepared to be just as bad off with no relief for this long!!

I went in today for my Screening, Dr. said average corneal thickness is 500 and i have 498 so she doesn’t recommend Lasik because they are too thin. She said PRK would be my best bet. I have it scheduled bright and early Friday morning. I am hoping to be back to work Monday. I am nervous by the slow healing process and the care it takes. But i am very excited to see…. well to see! Hopefully I can be a miracle healing story. From what it sounds like I should go invest in a nice pair of shades, because I will be waring them constantly for a few weeks huh?

They’ll most likely give you some sunglasses after your surgery. But they’re not the most fashionable sunglasses on the face of the planet. ;)

And yeah, your light sensitivity will be pretty high so a good pair of shades will be helpful.

Well, I am now 2 months post-op. Must say that things are pretty good. Things are crisp but I have a slight astigmatism in my eyes. Small letters seem to be doubled up, but big letters are crisp and clear. The Dr said that he could do a touch up and help, but he does not think it is worth the pain and suffering for the little difference I would notice. So over all, I am soo happy. But I noticed that I have very bad eye allergies now when I cut the grass. Might just be a bad allergy year, so i just need to make sure I take my meds.!!!

I had LASIK done at the first of the year and I’ve had a terrible time with vision instability, dry eyes, significant glare/flaring at night, and especially, multiple image ghosting in both eyes that’s far worse at night. That’s four months out, if you’re counting. It’s nearly debilitating from the perspective of no longer being able to drive at night and sometimes I cannot rely upon having sufficient vision to be able to grocery shop. I had to put night lights all over the house because I also no longer have functional vision in low light conditions. I am surviving without glasses but really miss my glasses-corrected vision a LOT.
Yesterday I was told that I was a candidate for a PRK/LASEK “touch up” and so I wanted to find out more about that. The idea of subjecting myself to more months of visual and physical torture while “healing” from PRK is exremely intimidating, especially since I learned only after the fact that the LASIK “flap” never actually heals. I’m convinced that’s the reason for the so-common “dry eye” problem – an eye injury that never heals isn’t supposed to feel good. Restasis and constant Oasis Plus drops haven’t really brought me relief and I believe I understand that the PRK may make this problem even worse going forward.
From the persepctive of PRK-only, is there a significant dry-eye problem?
Any special insights into PRK as an “enhancement” technique?
Looking for a miracle, maybe, but perhaps a little hope would get me by…

I personally have not had any dry-eye problems. When I was researching both PRK/LASIK, it seemed like dry-eye was a common side effect for both. So one wasn’t necessarily more prone to dry eyes than the other.

As far as the enhancement surgery, I’m afraid I’m not qualified to give advice on that. Particularly since you’re looking to “correct” your LASIK surgery with it.

I would recommend talking with your doctor and asking a bazillion questions until you feel comfortable and have clear expectations of the results.

I had lasik 10 years ago < I had -10 in the eye that was done, I had alot of problems at night and indoors(luckily oother eye was not done due to an incomlete flap so I have been able to wear a contact lens in that eye so I can drive at night. Last year after consulting with many doctors I found Dr. Jonathon Rosin who did prk to enhance the eye that was done. it took about 6 months to heal but not vision is about 20/35 and with glasses I can see perfectly at night. I just had the other eye done yesterday and it is very blurry but hopefully with progress as normal

that’s awesome. thanks for posting your experience with PRK as an enhancement to your earlier LASIK surgery.

hope your other eye heals up just as well (if not better)!

Just wanted to say that I am on day 5 & my eyes are wonderful, had my bandage lenses out yesterday seeing 20/20 in both eyes and fairly clear. took my 1st shot at some photo editing today & it went great, but my eyes were tired after a couple hours. Am totally thrilled with my results, Dr said I was a poster child for fast healing if you take all the possible steps. humidifier in my room, dark & lots of sleep, consistent with the drops. I know a lot of people on here didn’t get as lucky as I did but just wanted to offer a very positive result too. thanks for all your advice!

awesome! can’t believe you’re already back on a computer seeing 20/20!

just be careful you don’t exert your eyes too much this early in the recovery. <-- i sound like an old grandma saying that. ;)

Just found out over the weekend that I do not qualify for Lasik and that PRK is the procedure for me. I have to say that I am nervous about it. I have heard the good, bad and ugly stories regarding the procedure. Your story is encouraging though, thank you. I am scheduled to have it on Thursday, May 12th. Do think it’s to soon to go back to work the following Monday or should I take more time off? I’m in front of a computer 85% of the time.

yeah, i’ll admit you do hear some bad stories. but from my research a _large_ majority of cases are very positive. so that gave me confidence things would turn out well for me.

as for surgery thursday and going back to work monday . . . i’m personally more conservative in my approach to recovery.

my thought is these are your eyes, so take care of them.

so i would try and take a week off if possible. doing computer work is straining on the eyes, so i don’t like the idea of straining them too early in the process.

Well I did it! Had prk yesterday am seeing very well, just a slight irritation like I slept with my contacts in and light sensitivity. Have my 1st checkup @ 1 so hopefully things are as good as I think they are. I know they’ll get worse before perfection but hoping for a speedy recovery. Am lucky to have an amazing husband to take care of things until he goes back to work on Tuesday I plan to sleep all I can.

Hello

I had PRK done on March 11,2011 and I am now on my 4th week of recovery, I am not seeing clearly, I need reading glasses to see computer and read documents. I can not see street signs and feeling very frustrated. The comments are helping.
Thanks!! :)

realistically a month is still relatively early in the healing process. as i mentioned before, i know people that have taken up to six months to heal.

each person heals differently, so don’t be discouraged!

Alex – what options did you use in the short-term to help with you vision. At two weeks and I can barely read the words I’m typing. Clearly, I won’t be able to function for very long like this. Did you use temporary glasses or contacts ro help with your vision in the short-term until you saw positive results?

hiya mark. honestly, i didn’t do anything outside of be patient and follow doctors orders about resting my eyes and keeping diligent with eye-drop usage. i never had to use temporary glasses or contacts.

i’m sorry to hear you’re not having as great a time with the healing, but as you read through some of the comments, your current results are not that uncommon. don’t blame your doctor just yet! ;) PRK healing is extremely variable (as you’ll read from the various comments), but ultimately, a vast majority of us get past the “oh crap, did i make a mistake” phase and begin experiencing very positive results.

from others who have shared their experiences, it seems it takes at least two months before vision starts improving noticeably. and sometimes more. to quote another comment, the recovery process is very much a two step forward, one step backwards roller coaster.

hang in there! if you haven’t had a chance, read through some of the comments on this post for some other first-hand experiences (some not as smooth as mine, but still with great final results).

Thanks Alex. My primary frustration with my doctor was that he told me recovery would last 72 hours. I assumed that I would be able to do things like read or easily be on the computer. To me, that’s what “Recovery” meant. After reading through these comments (with a large screen), I see that my assumption of “recovery”at 72 hours and my doctors assumption of “recovery” at 72 hours were very dissimilar. I meet with my doctor on Thursday the 14th which is Day 13 for me.

I’m currently using two types of drops – one is a steroid called FML (Fluormetholone opthomolgic suppression) and the other is an over the counter eyedrop lubricant. What eye drops were you taking? Also, do you have any questions/comments/concerns that I should bring to him at this time? Thanks!

i can’t remember what types of drops i was using, but i was using three prescription drops for about a month (i think) after the surgery. after that it was OTC lubricating drops. your healing doesn’t sound abnormal at this stage, so i wouldn’t have any questions. as long as the doctor believes you’re progressing as he/she is expecting, i would be comfortable with that.

I had prk about 10 days ago (only right eye) but I am seeing double inside and can not read computer screen with right eye. Luckily I can function with my left eye. I thought by now it would be better . I did start out with -7 so not sue if that requires more recovery time.

10 days is still early in the healing process!

it seems 2 to 3 months is the “average” healing time based on my own experience and from those commenting.

and i don’t think being -7.00 affects the healing process/timeline. but i could be wrong…

I had my PRK done on 7/1 and it’s 7/11 now. It’s been ten days and I can barely see the letters that I’m typing in this post. My expectations were that I would see clearly at 72 hours, but clearly, those were unrealistic expectations. I feel that my doctor misled me by saying I would have great results at 72 hours – up until today, I felt that something went seriously wrong with my PRK. My reading is so bad that it’s almost nauseating to try. I’m curious to know how you’ve progressed and what you’ve done in the short-term to help your vision.

I also had PRK on 7/11. My experience also has not been great. At three weeks I am still not able to drive. My vision is clear for only about 20 minutes first thing in the morning and progressively gets worse. I am fearful that I will not see clearly for months to come. I also feel that I was not adequately prepared. Being able to function well enough for work has been extremely difficult. Not sure I would say that I am glad I had the surgery. Hopefully I will change my mind in time to come.

if it’s any comfort, know that many of the people who have commented on this post (myself included) have felt the same way: perhaps the surgery was a mistake.

most of us did not have the realistic expectation of how slow the recovery would be.

but stay hopeful.

it does get better and i can say i’m extremely pleased with my results when early in the recovery i was a little (lot) scared about my long-term prognosis.

Hi Fran – I’m the same guy that had PRK on 7/1 and posted on 7/11. Today is 7/21 and those 10 days have made huge difference. Met with my doctor on the 14th to voice my concerns about what “recovery” means – he uses the term to mean “pain-free” and I use the term to mean “I’m all better and can read and work”.

The past 20 days have been like the stock market for my eyes. Steadily getting better with ups and downs along the way. The biggest difference between Day 13 and Day 20 has been in my distance vision. Things are getting crisper all the time. I still need for my reading (both up close and at distance) to improve – the ghosting has considerably decreased but there is still some mild ghosting present. I’m hoping by Day 28, that will have been eliminated. In the meantime, I’ve had some assistance at work and wish I had been better prepared for my first three weeks after surgery.

Am I glad I did the PRK now? Yeah. Just wished that my doc and I were on the same page about the word “recovery” so I would have been better prepared for the weeks to follow the surgery.

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