Eye-laser surgery diary (Trans-PRK method)

I finally decided to go through with eye-laser surgery. Since I still hate to wear glasses and contacts after more than twenty years of doing it, I figured I’ll probably never get used to it. Time to get rid of this annoyance.

I will keep this post updated with my personal experiences, as it may be helpful for those who also consider getting their eyes zapped.

After weighing my options and doing research, I opted for the Wavefront-guided Transepithelial Photorefractive Keratectomy method, more commonly known as Wavefront-guided Trans-PRK. This is the most high-tech way to currently do it.

The most common way right now to get your eyes corrected is through Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK. With this method, a flap is sliced off the cornea with a blade, the vision gets laser-corrected, and the flap is reapplied. The main upsides are that it works great and the healing process is quick, but there are also downsides. The main one is that the flap will always be a weak point and may come loose.

With Trans-PRK, the laser burns off the very top layer of the cornea, and then laser-corrects the vision. This method is a lot less intrusive compared to LASIK, as the eye isn’t physically touched and the cornea completely heals up again, leaving no scar tissue or extra vulnerability. The downside is in the recovery process: it takes longer and it sucks harder.

This article explains all of it a lot better than I’m trying to do right now.

These videos show how it’s done:

Intra-Lasik

Trans-PRK

Anyway, let’s get started.

1. Pre-check

August 6, 2015

I walk into a nice clinic called Visus, in Rotterdam.

The place looks slick, the reception desk-ladies are lovely, and the coffee is free. That’s always nice.

One of the assistants walks me into a room with no less than five different devices lined up. Several measurements are taken, including stuff like eye-pressure, shape, and light sensitivity. One machine actually blows air into my eyes. To top it off they take 360° photos of the front my eyeballs. It all feels very high-tech.

Next up, I go into another room where the doctor is. He’s a friendly, knowledgeable man who explains the possibilities, different methods available and what to expect in general. He also does some tests and measures my prescription again. It turns out my left eye is my dominant eye. Another thing learned. According to the tests, my eyes are suitable for all methods available (some eyes can’t handle the LASIK-method because the top layer is not thick enough). Still, the whole idea of having something slicing in my eye completely turns me off. Also, because I’m into martial arts and doing other things that can get me hit in the head, the idea of having extra vulnerable eyes doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Trans-PRK it is.

After establishing that, the doctor puts some drops in my eyes in that completely dilate my pupils to do some more tests. My prescription is measured once again, and that was that for the day. Time to go home. The drops should wear off after four hours or so, and until then, my pupils will remain wide open. When I take a look in the mirror in the bathroom, I conclude that I look like I’m on drugs.

It’s a nice summer day outside, and the sunlight immediately kicks my ass as I walk into it. I have black sunglasses on, but even they don’t really help. Focusing on things nearby is also difficult, and everything is a little hazy. It’s annoying, but not terrible. As I walk home through the city, I avoid direct sunlight and stay in the shadows like a vampire. After three hours or so, it’s completely worn off.

The appointment to go through with the procedure is set for upcoming Thursday. August 13, 2015 will officially be the day I’ll say goodbye to wearing glasses.

I’m looking very much forward to it, but I’ll readily admit I haven’t been this nervous in a long time.

Next: The treatment