PRK – 5 Weeks Later

•December 28, 2007 • 7 Comments

Wow. This past week has shown drastic improvements in my vision. Last week I was finished with the steroid drops. A few days after that, and all of a sudden I started seeing noticeably better. It has improved even until today.

This morning I had my 5 week eye checkup. The eye doctor did the standard wall chart thing, and I managed to read the 20/20 line with each eye separately! That’s a huge step! The vision is still far from perfect, but at the core of the smudgy blurriness, I can see sharp letters. It took some effort to focus in on the letters, but I managed. It’s still better in my left than my right.

Things are much clearer, though I’d estimate my vision at about 80% of optimal. I’ve been able to go back to my standard font size on the computer. My vision is more stable throughout the day. It doesn’t fluctuate as much as it did in the past month. They’re still dry, but less dry than before, and the dryness doesn’t affect clarity as much as before.

I’m still using the eyedrops very liberally. I switched to normal rewetting drops as instructed, but after telling the doc how often I use eyedrops (on average, 1 to 2 per hour), she suggested that I go back to the preservative free drops for most of the time. Apparently the preservatives can cause some discomfort in some people, although I haven’t really noticed a difference. She said the dryness is normal and will decrease in the coming weeks and months.

Overall, I’m very, very pleased with where I’m at today. After spending the last 5 weeks in varying levels of blurriness, the bubble in which I’ve been living has been greatly expanded. Imagine the first time you saw a high def TV compared to the static-laced black-and-white of yesterday. It’s that much of a difference. And the great thing is that it is going to improve, with a very good chance of getting better than 20/20 vision.

PRK – 4 Weeks Later

•December 18, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Four weeks have passed since having my eyes dissolved and zapped. There was significant improvement over that first week following the surgery, but the past three weeks have shown improvements so slight that it is next to impossible to know whether my vision is better one day or the next. The cumulative affect is greater and I do say that my eyesight has definitely increased in the three past weeks, but nowhere near the acuity I had with glasses or contacts… yet.

If I had to put a percentage on it, I would rate my current vision at about sixty percent of optimal. For two and a half weeks, I have slowly clambered my way up to being a contributing member of society within the realm of operating independently. I’ve regained the ability to drive safely and work staring at a computer screen for a full day’s time, albeit with a major increase in font size. I wasn’t very comfortable driving at night until about a week ago when either I got used to the smudgy lights, or my vision got good enough to drive safely in a starbursted world.

Ghosting is still the biggest problem. This goes away with time, and from some reports I’ve read, mine is still healing faster than others. Halos around lights at night have lessened in thickness and brightness and have turned more into starbursts. Such oddities are limited more towards distant, smaller lights rather than the brake lights ahead of me. They still exist on bigger lights, but are absorbed by the size of them.

I have gotten used to reading in a big font size, although last week I was able to move up one resolution setting. It feels like I may be operating at this capacity for a few more weeks as my eyes continue to heal and the ghosting dissipates.

My left eye is definitely healing faster than the right, which seems to be drier on average. I’ve been told that dryness can play a significant role in a speedy recovery, so I have been dousing my eyes with the preservative-free drops quite often. My pamphlet said that after three weeks I can switch to regular eyedrops (with preservatives). Call it paranoia, but I’m still using the preservative-free kind even though they cost an arm and a leg.

Today was the last day of taking steroid drops, so it’s just rewetting drops from here on out. Next week I go in for the one month checkup, and I should report back by then. Strangely enough, with all the ghosting going on, I think my left eye may be nearing the 20/20 vision mark when I focus just right. I can still see duplicate images, but I can tell the center image is much crisper. I can do something similar with the right eye, but can tell it’s worse and farther behind than the right.

I’ll give another update next week after my eye appointment. Happy holidays!

PRK – 2 Weeks Later

•December 4, 2007 • 32 Comments

It is now 14 days after my PRK vision correction surgery. Improvement during this past week has been much slower than the first week. There is still a significant amount of ghosting, making reading a chore and driving somewhat questionable. I am very liberal with the preservative-free rewetting eye drops, since I’ve found that dry eyes will only perpetuate this ghosting effect.

I’ve been able to work full days in the office yesterday and today, though I’m a continued object of mockery by my coworkers when they see the huge fonts on my screen. Vision still seems best after using the rewetting drops and closing my eyes for a while. In fact, after a long nap today, my left eye was surprisingly ghost-free for a good ten minutes. The right eye was more smudgy, but still decent for awhile.

Throughout the day, the ghosting is worse in one eye than the other, and it switches throughout the day. Good, then bad, then good again. It’s frustrating at times, but I’m still optimistic. Once my vision is stable, I plan on creating a few images demonstrating what effect this has on vision while driving and reading. If you’re considering PRK and have a job where reading is involved, such as computer work, make sure you’re not in a huge busy season. I’ve heard that everyone’s recovery time is different, but it has a significant impact on work performance.

At times, I can close one eye and force myself to focus in or out with the open eye, in a way which I focus through an object, and it seems to resolve the ghosting temporarily. It allows me to see slightly clearer for a few brief seconds, but due to the effort and strain involved, is not a permanent solution. It’s more of a way to pass time or experiment, though it can clear up some smudgy text for a brief second.

What else is there to say? Tomorrow I start taking the steroid drops only twice a day, then once a day the following week, after which I’m free of the burden of Pred Forte. The improvements aren’t quite as drastic, so it’s harder to tell when something is noticeably better. Therefore, I’ll probably wait to write to this blog again unless a significant jump occurs.

I’m still in good hopes, albeit a frustrated mood during times when I have to read. Good luck to anyone else out there undergoing the same.

PRK Day 10

•November 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It’s now been ten days since the surgery. I’ve gone into the office the last two days as well as today, but have been unable to work full days. The fact that 99% of my job includes reading and writing on a computer screen has really sunk in. I can handle enough for a while, but my eyes get too fatigued and the doublevision/ghosting seems to increase over time.

Still, I’m not disappointed at all, as I continue to see improvements every day. I just wish they would start coming faster 🙂 I’m driving still, but try to keep my time on the road under ten minutes and within daylight hours. Yesterday I came home at lunch time and took an hour long nap, and my eyes were rejuvenated afterwards and I could work another 4 hours. Today, I skipped this rest period and went to lunch with the guys, but could only make it an hour into work afterwards before the fatigue made me pack up and head home.

It’s frustrating for sure, because I think that I lost a good 3 hours of work today looking into a problem that was caused originally by me misreading some piece of code and trying to fix a problem that wasn’t there. Grrrrr….

As for vision – the right eye is doing better and the ghosting is less pronounced but still blurry to an extent. Large fonts are a must, but they’re starting to clear up to the point that, come Monday, I’m hoping to be able to take the screen size down a notch. Things like this are cause for celebration with my new eyes, as I edge ever closer towards that (fingers crossed) 20/20 vision I’m hoping for.

The left eye is worse and the ghosting/double vision is more significant. Today I realized that with just my left eye open, if I focussed through the page I was reading, the two images resolved themselves. This is more of a chore than it’s worth, as I think I overworked my eye muscles doing this from time to time today.

Vision seems to be best when the eyes are thoroughly moistened. I’ll usually use the rewetting drops and close my eyes for a while, and things are much clearer when I open them back up. For a little while, at least. After several minutes, things start blurring up and separating again.

So in all, I’m happy with the progress so far. There are some blogs that I’ve read of people who take weeks to get to such a point. I have no doubt that in time, the ghosting and double vision will go away and I’ll forget what it was like to ever have this screwy eyesight. The sooner that day comes, the better.

The Atheist’s Object of Worship

•November 28, 2007 • 3 Comments

Today I was delighted to flip through the channels and find that my favorite Catholic broadcaster (EWTN, I think) was having a round-table discussion on why so many young people today are drawn to Atheism. The discussion naturally included a self-proclaimed former atheist and homosexual, now cured and turned Catholic, as well as several members of the clergy with an adamant conviction that Atheism is in itself a growing religion rivaling Catholicism.

Amidst the discussion, one of the priests made a comment that since people are born with a inherent need to worship something, that Atheists themselves attempt to fulfill this desire in different ways; namely, through drugs, alcohol, or homosexuality, to name the first things that came to the minds of these clergy. The former homosexual atheist described how he indeed worshiped his homosexuality.

While this generalization doesn’t surprise me due to its origin, it nevertheless offends me as an unbeliever and atheist. I partake in my fair share of alcohol and steer clear of the harmful drugs, and I see no need to scrutinize the sexual relations of consenting adults, so none of these so-called sins offends me. What makes me cringe is the feigned piety of these holy men proclaiming that anyone not sharing their belief is somehow a slave to any mortal desire not approved by the man in the white hat.

It seems that many religions are unable to cope with the possibility that what they hold dear might not be absolute truth, and thus draw the conclusion that their own assumptions hold true for the rest of humanity. That they have some base need to grovel at the feet of an imagined deity does not infer the same necessity within me, or within anyone else. It was the same in my youth in the fundamentalist church. We were often told of this same basic human instinct, if such a word could be compatible with a designer. They said that we’ll all end up worshiping something to fill that god-shaped hole.

I wholeheartedly deny such accusations. I worship nothing. I see no need to prostrate myself before anyone or anything. Likewise, I see no need for you, or for those misguided clergy, to lay all they have at the feet of an imaginary immaterial specter. Sure, I have my interests and obsessions, but after leaving Christianity, I found the god-shaped hole myth to be a lie.

One of the clergy on the show made a comment that we all needed something to fill that empty Wednesday afternoon with. I guess he’s invoking the old idea of idle-hands being the devil’s playground, but such an assumption is laughable. The idea that worship is in the same boat with how I spend my time is absurd. If their idea of the need for worship were expanded to something one feels compelled to do, or something one likes to do, then the idea certainly makes more sense but at the same time, also loses its religious sting.

Excuse me while I prepare a burnt offering to my xbox. It gets angry when I don’t slit the throat or drain the blood just right.

PRK Day 7

•November 27, 2007 • 11 Comments

It’s been a week! This is a major accomplishment in the life of my new eyes. Today I got the bandage contacts out and was told my eyes were healing perfectly. Still, that doesn’t mean my vision has stabilized yet, in fact it is anything but perfect.

My vision actually worsened a little after the bandage contacts were out, and my eyes have felt rather dry and scratchy all day. I’ve heard that other people have had this experience of worsening vision without the contacts, so it seems to be a natural occurrence.

I’ve noticed that the quality of vision is best after resting my eyes for a while or using the rewetting drops, but that they degrade after some time of usage. Reading is still blurry and harder now since my left eye seems to be experiencing bouts of double vision.

I actually drove today, and went out on the road to the store. It wasn’t so much blurry as it was somehow smudgy. My adventure took place after resting my eyes for a while, and I noticed that at first driving was clear and natural, but after a while the smudges became bigger. With a sense of accomplishment, I came back home having taken one step closer to independence. It seems the only things that I’ve been looking forward to in the past weeks have been the every-four-hour marks so I can put in another round of prescribed eye drops. That has been my life for the past week.

That, and reading the entire set of audiobooks for the His Dark Materials trilogy (that’s the trilogy starting with The Golden Compass). I’m just about finished and will probably write another blog on that topic entirely. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the series. It was a great read and an excellent counterbalance to the jesus-loving Chronicle of Narnia books, for, as you may know, the core intent of the main characters in this series is to kill god. I hope I don’t spoil anything by saying that in the end, goodness prevails.

But back to the eyes. I think I might try to drive to work tomorrow if my vision isn’t too doubled or smudged. It will be a welcome task although it will probably only be for a  few hours of squinting at a computer screen.

PRK Day 5

•November 25, 2007 • 1 Comment

It is nearing the end of the fifth day after my PRK laser correction surgery. Every day is a slight improvement over the previous. I am now able to read smaller print, although it is all still blurry and smudged. I’ve been able to reduce the font size on the monitor to normal, although I still have the monitor size itself blown up to 800×600.

The blurriness I’m experiencing now isn’t exactly like it was when I didn’t have my glasses on. Somehow there is a level of clarity unlike the bad vision I had prior to the surgery. And every so often I’ll move my eyes and have a brief moment of clarity on a small part of my eye which is gone a second later. Two more days and I’ll be able to get the bandage contacts out. I’m pretty excited for that. It’s just like sleeping for a week with normal contacts in. Your eyes just have this weird nasty feeling to them when you wake up and it follows you throughout the day. They say it’s good for you, so I guess I believe them.

Yesterday I spent some time with visiting family which was only supposed to be for an hour and turned into an evening. My girlfriend drove and had to lead me around blindly sometimes when we were walking into the wind, but it was nice to get out. I probably should have called it a night earlier on, because about halfway through the evening, at a restaurant, my eyes started to get really tired and irritated. Still, I wanted to go visit my couple-months-old niece with the rest of the family, so I stuck it out. The majority of the time I kept my eyes closed, and the entire evening I had my awesome sunglasses on that were given to me by the eye doctor.

It was a relief to finally get home later on and lay down in a dark room. My entire eyeballs sort of throbbed from the overuse and were entirely exhausted. I was looking forward to a night of sleep, but somehow that sleep remained elusive.  For whatever reason, I could not get to sleep, and became so angry at this that I really couldn’t get to sleep. I wandered the apartment in the dark and came to rest on the couch and listened to an audiobook for several hours. Sleep didn’t come until around 3:30 and then it was very fitful.

I spent most of today trying to catch up on this missing sleep, and it wasn’t until mid afternoon that I was fully myself again. Part of me thinks that the lack of sleep came from being out all yesterday afternoon and evening. Oh well, I got through it. Now after writing this my vision is beginning to lose focus again, so I think I’ll call it a day for computer work. I had originally anticipated that I might be able to go to work tomorrow (Monday), but I can see now that this isn’t going to happen, and it possibly won’t happen the next day. I write software for a living, so there’s going to be a lot of staring at monitors that I’m just not up to. Hopefully I’ll be able to work soon, as I’m running out of audiobooks to listen to and this cabin fever is starting to get to me!