My PRK experience

Now that I’ve gone through the PRK surgery for my right eye, I thought that I would pen down this once in a life time experience, which will serve as a form of wonderful memories for me as well as general information and knowledge for those who are interested in knowing more about it.

To start off, I would briefly explain the differences between Photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) and the commonly known Laser-assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery. Because of my job requirement, I’ve no choice but to opt for only PRK surgery. The PRK surgery is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea using an excimer laser to ablate a small amount of tissue from the front of the eye, just under the eye’s outer layer or epithelium. Due to this procedure, there is generally more pain and visual recovery is slower as compared to LASIK. As for LASIK surgery, basically what happens is that LASIK retains the epithelium from the corneal flap which will be replaced and used to act as a natural bandage, thus creating what we call a ‘flap’. According to my surgeon, there’ve been pilots from the USAF whom have undergone LASIK and encountered post-op injuries while flying missions. What happened was that the ‘flap’ came loose (also known as dislocated corneal flaps), perhaps due to high altitude and air pressure.

Enough of theory explained. Prior to my surgery, I had 2 detailed pre-op screening each lasting for a few hours, which includes very detailed test to check if my eye is suitable for the surgery. They have been cases of unsuitable candidates due to various reasons and this caused them to lose their employment contract. Thus, it was a risk that I took in return for this surgery. I was given some eye drops and was told to use it 2 days before they actual surgery. For the first time, I actually had a taste of what eye drops taste like and boy, it was bitter! Somehow, the chemical travelled through my nostrils and ended up down into my throat.

On the actual day, I was led into this preparation room where the nurse applied anesthetic drops and cleans the exterior of my eye as well as put on the green gown. Then, I waited anxiously in one corner while the surgeons prepared the machine. Before I know, I was lying on the bed while the surgeon began clipping my eyes wide open with some sort of a clipper and washing my eyes with water. Little did I know that the anesthetic drops wasn’t enough and had not completely numbed my eyes and this caused me to flinch. The surgeon had to calm me down and I was kind of embarrassed. And so, various kinds of liquid and chemical were being applied to my eye and the next thing I knew, I couldn’t see a thing. Then slowly, my vision became and I was the laser being projected to my eye. Within 15 seconds, I saw the laser beam being shot into my eye and it slowly turned into a ball of fire. At the same time, I can smell a stench of something being burnt. When the process was over, a bandage contact lens was being placed over my eyes. When I walked out of the laser suite, my right eye seems to have perfect vision. I tried looking around and everything became so clear — just like when I had my glasses on. It was an amazing experience!

I’m thankful to have been given an opportunity to regain perfect vision once again. I thank god for his guidance and arrangement and most importantly, those whom have helped and enabled me to undergo this surgery. As for my left eye surgery this coming Tuesday, I’ll make sure the nurse applies enough anesthetic drops before I actually lie down on the laser suite’s bed to save myself from further embarrassment!