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7 weeks post lasik, dry eye, help...

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  • #16
    I'd love to know how you're all doing now. I'm 3 months post PRK and desperately looking for the light at the end of the dry eye tunnel!

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    • #17
      Hi nori2015, I'm sorry you are struggling!

      I'm now 1 year 8 months post lasik. Overall I'm MUCH better. For me the first 5-7 months were a total nightmare, then things gradually improved. By month 10 I was down to only using Restasis daily and occasional Retaine (once or twice a day) to help manage dry eye symptoms.

      My tear quality still is not great, but my doc says he would classify mine as mild-moderate dry eye. So it could be worse.

      My vision is the one thing that is awesome. I'm now 20/15 in BOTH eyes. It's apparently very unusual that I had such a poor vision outcome initially in my right eye. There was all sorts of back and forth (maybe I needed a flap lift, maybe another laser correction, etc.) But I was too terrified to let them touch my eye again (even scheduled the flap lift and called to cancel a week before b/c I freaked out) - and I'm SO GLAD I waited because I didn't need any of it, and it might have made things worse.

      Most of the time I no longer have pain, except on days when I have a combination of bad eye allergies and dryness both. It's really obvious when those days happen now.

      I do have what I'd describe as tolerable but annoying discomfort quite often. For example, I still have a really hard time with ceiling fans, wind, air conditioners blowing air in my eyes or if a store is very cold with very dry air (like Target or Costco) and has super bright fluorescent lighting. In these conditions, my eyes feel very uncomfortable and it's super distracting and frustrating. But I can tolerate these things for a short amount of time.

      I'm so happy to report that now I'm fine in movie theaters. That was REALLY hard for so long. Also, mostly I'm ok with outdoor activities. And I even went roller skating with my kids and the air from the fast movement didn't really bother me, though I do feel like I blink a lot more than I used to.

      At this point, I still wish I had never done this surgery. My contacts were less trouble than all of this. I think this will always be one of the worst decisions and biggest regrets of my life.

      But I feel normal enough that I don't think about it all the time anymore. And if this is the worst thing I have to deal with, then I'll be a-ok!!

      Hope this is encouraging. Hang in there. IT DOES GET BETTER.

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      • #18
        Thank you so much for replying. Can I ask you what helped the most? Drops or just time? I'm so sick of my red veiny eyes

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        • #19
          In my case, it was mostly time. Not sure if my whole lasik story was included earlier in this thread, but if not you can definitely find it in other places.

          Long story short, my right eye responded poorly to the procedure and did not heal normally. I could barely function for about 2 months post surgery (had to refloat flap, was light sensitive, air sensitive, I had edema, blurry vision, tons of pain, could barely drive, had trouble focusing, could not look at a TV at all for months).

          Some of those things got gradually better over the first 2-4 months, but the pain in my right eye and not-so-great vision lasted many months more.

          I wore glasses with one corrective right lens for awhile b/c the difference between right and left eye vision drove me absolutely crazy and gave me headaches. I think at that point I was about 20/40 in right eye and 20/15 in left and am very strongly right eye dominant.

          My left eye was mostly ok, other than light sensitivity for about the first 6-8 weeks and some dryness.

          Somewhere around month 5 is when suddenly my right eye vision started to sharpen! It really was like one day all of a sudden I noticed I could read the clock without squinting or shutting one eye (digital clocks made my problems really obvious b/c right eye couldn't read them from more than a few feet away and I'd get halos - I would often shut my right eye to read the time with my left only since it was clear). Was it my imagination? I asked for another eye exam, and sure enough I had improved!

          By month 10 my right eye was 20/20 and on my last exam, around one year post surgery, it was 20/15. Also right after surgery I had a small astigmatism but no longer have that now.

          I am left with a small amount of epithelial ingrowth on the edge of the flap, but everyone says it can stay there. My vision is clear now, except on really bad eye allergy days my right eye gets fuzzy sometimes. I do still have some dry eye symptoms in both eyes, but not severe.

          Back to your question about treatment vs. time: It usually doesn't hurt to try treatments, but I think often it's really just a matter of time. Your eye wants to see. It wants to heal itself. Eyes are very complex and can do an amazing amount of self-repair, but it can take a loooooong time.

          Immediately after the trauma of surgery, I do think the medications were vital to supporting my eye's ability to start healing itself (reducing inflammation and helping with the edema). But each treatment ran its course and then was no longer helping. There was no quick fix.

          Over the first 6 months post surgery, my surgeon and another corneal specialist tried me on all kinds of medications (steroids, NSAID eye drops, antibiotics, sodium chloride for the edema, various ointments, there was much talk of doing a flap lift, scraping away cell growth, and another laser correction to make my vision equal to the other eye). Warm compresses did nothing for me, plugs did nothing, fish oil and other supplements did nothing. Doctors gave me all sorts of different suggestions about what might be happening, but the "diagnosis" was constantly changing, so it was obvious they really were just theorizing and grabbing at straws because I was that unlucky case they didn't really know how to fix. I was the 1% or 5%, or whatever statistics you want to go by, who had an unexplained crappy outcome. The surgery center was accessible, but overall ineffective at addressing my problems. Luckily I had a very involved optometrist to advocate for me, and he helped me get lots of support and 2nd, 3rd, even 4th opinions, ultimately arranged a free appointment with a local expert on lasik complications, whose advice (not to do another surgery) was invaluable and he gave me hope.

          And my eye did heal, ever so damn slowly.

          It can take up to 2 years to really know how it's all going to work out.

          I know how difficult that is to hear and really feel for what you're going through right now.

          For me, the first year after lasik was a really hard time. It cannot be overstated just how hard it was. I am the type of person who likes to take action to fix a problem, but in this case there was no action that was doing any good and no fixing that could be done. Some days were so hard b/c I kept thinking I could not live my whole life like that or I might go crazy. I was irritable, miserable, frustrated all the time.

          Ask my husband and he would probably say he's never seen me so emotionally beaten down by anything. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and am generally a very determined, positive outlook, go-go-go type of person.

          But this whole eye thing just knocked me down.

          Anyway, it helped me a lot to hear from others about there stories and to know that there would be light at the end of the tunnel, that's why I'm writing so much back to you.

          Also, if you don't feel supported by your doctor (whether they are over or under medicating or just not giving you answers) don't hesitate to seek more opinions or a better advocate. Don't wait. The struggle would have been much harder if it weren't for my optometrist, who would answer my 10 p.m. text messages and gave me free follow ups and tons of free samples and was willing to collaborate with other doctors to try to solve my problems.

          You're still really early in the healing process, so hang in there! Do what you can/need to get through each day, and to support your eye's ability to heal itself. Time will do the rest.

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          • #20
            Thanks so much oneblurryeye, your honest account gives those of us suffering some hope! I am sure others will agree it is vital we hear that others have healed even if it is a long, slow and painful process. Would love to read more of these accounts. Thanks again x

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            • #21
              Thanks oneblurry eye, it's so encouraging to hear your update. This forum can be a dark place sometimes so any improvement however small is always great to read.

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