“You need to put one to two drops of this artificial tears on each eye at least six times a day in the next four weeks until your eyes have completely healed,” instructed my eye surgeon after I have had a PRK surgery 3 years ago.
When I heard the doctor prescribed this to me, I nearly burst into laughter.
Artificial tears? That was the first time I have heard of it. (We call it eye drops in my part of the world!)
I didn’t know there was such a thing. I mean, anything can now be ‘artificial’ even tears? Seriously?
Well, anyway, just to give you an idea of what this surgery was all about – PRK or Photo Refractive Keratectomy is a type of laser eye surgery designed to correct vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In PRK, the eye surgeon does not create a flap of corneal tissue (unlike in LASIK). Instead, the outer layer of the cornea is removed to expose an area for a laser to reshape. This makes PRK a better choice for people whose eyes meet certain criteria, such as having thin corneas (like mine) or chronically dry eyes.
All I wanted was to have my 20-20 vision back. This was my gift to myself as I have been ‘blind’ for almost 15 years. And yes, I am desperate for a miracle!
Anyhow, the operation went well. It took only 30 minutes prep and 10 minutes surgery (5 minute each eye). In an hour’s time, I was back in our apartment recovering.
However, when the anesthesia had worn off a few hours later, the pain had started to bite like some group of tiny red ants stinging my eyes all the same time.
I didn’t sleep that night. I just couldn’t. I had probably finished 2 or 3 boxes of Kleenex from simply wiping all those tears – literally buckets of tears!
I remember what my eye surgeon told me after the operation, “It will be very painful for the first few days but just endure it. It will be worth it in the end.” She smiled to me and I believed her.
So, I endured the pain. A tiny glare of light could sting like mad. So I had to stay in our improvised dark room (black out curtains completely shut) for 3 days straight until the light couldn’t hurt no more.
Apparently, for PRK patients, since the cornea had been scraped off. I had to wait till it grows back before I could see the results. It was only on the 2nd week when I started to see things clearly and everything started to look crisp. (It took mine 1 month before I got the 100% sharpness.)
As I look back and reflect on this experience, I ask myself, “Was going through all the pain and staying in the dark room worth it?” I’d say, definitely YES!
I also remember the testimonials of the people who had gone through the same procedure. They said, “If I were to do it all over again, I would have done it much sooner in life because that would mean I would have more years to enjoy a spectacle-free life!”
Now I can swim again like I used to; enjoy the beach and do water activities; read road signs clearly and not miss a turn (well, most of the time); wave back at my friends from across the street (and not be called a snob) because I saw them first; and most of all experience the joy of waking up to a bright clear sunny day without having to think about where I put my eyeglasses the night before or when I last changed my contact lenses.
This, for me, is FREEDOM! 🙂
“…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)