I Got PRK: 3 Year Update

February 7, 2020 Baltimore, MD, USA

In January 2017, I maxed out my FSA and gleefully dropped it all in one big, quick transaction: PRK surgery.

PRK is a laser vision correction surgery similar to Lasik with one key difference: the corneas are "sanded away" prior to correction vs. having a flap cut, resulting in a longer healing time. I couldn't see at all for a week post-op.

PRK eye surgery 3 year follow up

Sounds great, right? You can read in more detail about that journey starting here, but know that PRK was the right option for me vs. Lasik because my prescription was strong. I was so nearsighted that the first provider I consulted with wouldn't even guarantee me a full correction. There are other reasons to consider when deciding between Lasik and PRK, but the decision was made for me because of that factor.

I now get an eye exam annually for two main reasons:
  1. It's important to stay on top of your eye needs and health. Don't neglect it!
  2. I qualify for future corrective surgeries if needed if I do this
Onto the good stuff. 3 years post-op, how do I feel about the whole thing? How is my vision? Was it worth it?

The short answer: I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Read on for the details...

PRK eye surgery 3 year follow up

How's your vision?

I've had a slight prescription that I only need on occasion. It's so low (under -1.00) that correction so far isn't warranted, and in general, I see just fine without help.

With correction, my vision is currently 20/15.

I have invested in prescription glasses and sunglasses that I wear only as needed which is generally  driving or watching a show (the glare from the stage lights is real!).

The bottom line for me is this: when I wake up in the morning, I can see! I can roll out of bed and walk to the bathroom without worrying about tripping over something or walking into a wall. I can swim without worrying about losing glasses or contacts. As someone who grew up without being unable to enjoy these things, this is everything to me.

Do you have any side effects?

The biggest thing I noticed is that the "halos" at night did not go away like they usually do after several months for many patients. I can't say with certainty, but I think this is partially connected to my only other complaint: dry eyes.

A common side effect, especially for people with higher prescriptions like me, is dry eye. I've used every over the counter drop you can think of, tried other OTC/homeopathic remedies as recommended by my eye doctor, and even tried prescription Restasis last year. All of these provide some relief but haven't improved the overall problem.

At this year's checkup, we discussed the next step which would be trying punctal plugs. If we go down that road, I'll be sure to include all you need to know in my next update.

Was it worth it?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! 

I encourage everyone considering corrective vision surgery to consider their own needs and circumstances, but for me, the side effects are a small price to pay for both the convenience and safety. I have worn glasses or contacts almost my entire life (since before school), and not only had they become a nuisance, but I was beginning to feel unsafe driving - my contacts were drying out faster as I got older and I didn't have the peripheral vision I would have preferred with glasses on. Making sure I always have eye drops on me is no big deal in comparison to worrying about breaking my glasses or losing a contact and being stranded while blind.

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