My PRK Eye Surgery Journey

The following is an excerpt from PRK patient Crystal Pang's blog regarding her laser vision correction recovery process.

If you wear glasses, you have probably considered laser eye surgery at one point or another. But it’s scary to think about lasers coming into your eye and not knowing what to expect, so I decided to write up a very detailed blog post to account for my experience. I read a lot of blogs + reddit posts to prepare myself for surgery and every experience is different, but I hope this helps you make a decision if this journey is for you! I chose to get PRK, which has 3-6 month full recovery process (which is when your vision is 100% clear. You’ll be able to see about 3 days after!) , so I’ll continue to update this post with week by week updates!

Background

I’ve worn glasses for half my life, and my vision was stable for 4 years before I got PRK. You can qualify for eye surgery at 18, but most say you should wait until your prescription doesn’t change for 3 years before you attempt it in case there’s a regression in vision post surgery. According to my doctor, women are usually good to go at 23, and men at 25. This was my vision: Right Eye: -5.75 with a -1.50 astigmatism; Left eye: -4.50 with a -2.25 astigmatism. I hated wearing contacts, and they always gave me irritation. I didn’t have dry eyes/halos and according to the doctor had pretty normal, healthy eyes (besides the bad vision). 
 

Why Eye Surgery?

It’s the little things really – I would put a face mask on and then have to put my glasses over it and deal with the goo in order to do anything else besides face masking. I would look enviously at my friends who arrive to brunch on a sunny day with their sunglasses on their head while I shuffle my prescription sunglasses into my case and switch it out for my regular glasses. It’s when I would do a child’s pose in yoga and always have to keep my head slightly lifted to avoid my glasses being squished to my face. Then of course, there’s just the fact that I’ve had glasses for half my life and wanted the freedom for my eyeballs to breathe the fresh air. At the end of the day, it’s usually considered a cosmetic surgery, so really many of my reasons are superficial and convenience based, and I’m okay with that.

What's the difference between PRK and LASIK / SMILE?

I’m not a doctor, so definitely research the differences and ask your optometrist for details. At a high level, in LASIK, a thin flap is created on the cornea, and you can see clearly the next day. SMILE is pretty similar to LASIK, and it’s the newest version of this type of eye surgery, but it’s minimally invasive with no flap. In PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea is removed before reshaping the underlying corneal tissue. Recovery usually takes 3 days where you can’t really use your eyes and then it takes a few weeks for your vision to stabilize. Obviously LASIK and SMILE sound like the easiest surgery, so why didn’t I do those?  My vision and astigmatism was too high for LASIK/SMILE, so the only way to free my eyes from glasses was to rip those bad boy (or girl) corneas out.
 

Where did you get it done?

I got it done at the Manhattan LASIK Center. Two of my friends got this procedure done here, so I felt like I was in good hands. I had my surgery done by Dr. Mark Buchsbaum, and I really liked how he explained the procedure and answered my questions. The Manhattan LASIK Center clearly knows what they’re doing, and during the free initial consultation, they were patient with my questions and knowledgeable about the procedure.

Read the rest of Crystal’s PRK experience and detailed recovery process in her blog VeganEatsNYC.com.