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

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  • nori2015
    replied
    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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  • geminijo
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • oneblurryeye
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • nori2015
    replied
    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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  • oneblurryeye
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • nori2015
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • Jovver
    replied
    I definitely get it all right! I remember that the first couple of months were pretty bad from a vision point of view but things gradually improved radically between months three and four. I definitely would't give up hope just yet, seven weeks really is nothing from a healing point of view. Just to reassure you, my vision started out as 20/40 in the first few weeks and gradually improved to 20/10 in both eyes after six months (I think that's 6/4 in "American"? :-) They're still very dry but very slowly improving now.

    I think it's easy to rush into things in the hope of trying to make things better, but sometimes all you need is time. The human body is a pretty amazing thing, and hopefully it should start to heal itself over the nest few weeks and months.

    Best wishes and take it easy (easier said than done I know, and I speak from bitter experience!)

    Leave a comment:


  • oneblurryeye
    replied
    Jovver, thanks for updating. Does anyone else from this thread have an update?

    I'll be 7 weeks the day after Thanksgiving and am glad to report I'm having some improvement, albeit very slow and I'm certainly not "normal" yet.

    Every day I wake up wondering how I'm going to feel. The last 5 or mornings it has been "not terrible" and that's a huge improvement. But I fear at any moment things will swing back in the other direction. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about!

    The main improvement is that the pain has lessened - I'm almost afraid to type that for fear of jinxing myself. Overall I'd downgrade what I'm feeling in the right (botched flap) eye from pain to discomfort/irritation, which is still constant, but I sure can think more clearly now that it isn't totally excruciating. Vision is still not great though, even though another doc just this morning confirms that I'm 20/20 now with .5 astigmatism (so that has gotten worse b/c it was 0 and then .25).

    My left eye has no pain anymore and just a little dry feeling, so I'm guessing a big part of the pain in both eyes was dryness and as the dryness is a little better, overall the pain gets better. But I fear what will happen with the allergy season (where I live Dec-Feb is worst) coming up! I also still have to use artificial tears hourly while on the computer (have to be for work). But the rest of the time I can usually go a couple hours between drops.

    I went for a 2nd opinion today b/c my surgeon wants to lift and refloat my flap and I'm really unsure about it. The 2nd opinion doc thinks it may be an option, but that I should wait longer to see if any of my blurring/double vision/haziness symptoms resolve on their own and also if the astigmatism worsens (in case enhancement is needed and then they just lift once). Makes sense to me. I'll be seeing the surgeon again next Friday so that gives me another week to see if there's any change.

    The 2nd opinion doc did aberrometry and there's really not much in the way of HOAs. If anything my left eye has more (weird). But the outer edge of my right eye flap has what he described as "waves" which could be fixed by flap refloat. However he thinks they are so close to incision edge that they will ultimately not affect my vision. He thinks my pain is nerve pain and that all of it will most likely resolve, it just may take another few months.

    Oh, I hope he's right.

    Anyway, if anybody else has news I'd love to know. It's good to talk to other people who "get it" because this is so hard to explain to people.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jovver
    replied
    I have had a little improvement since i first posted, but it's very slow going. The really bad stabbing pains have gone by and large, but both eyes still very dry in general and I need to use drops a minimum of once per hour. The one thing that's kept me sane is that my visions is to all intents and purposes perfect, 20/15 uncorrected and 20/10 corrected, so at least they got that right. All the specialist have said I should recover to normal or normalise as I had never had dry eyes before, but that it might be a long haul to get there.

    Like everyone else here, I think that 5 weeks is far too little time for your eyes to settle down. This is a great place to get advice, but try your best not to obsess about it (and yes, I appreciate how easy it is to say that, but how difficult it is to achieve - I nearly fell apart in the first few months).

    This is a great place to get advice, and Rebecca is just a great person.

    Best wishes, I hope you get better soon.

    Leave a comment:


  • oneblurryeye
    replied
    Oh gosh, I just had lasik 5 weeks ago and can relate to everything said in this thread, from the reason for doing the lasik in the first place (kids and active lifestyle) to selecting "the best, most experienced" surgeon and corneal specialist in town to the nightmare of trying to see a movie.

    I posted my lengthy story elsewhere, but mostly what I am wondering is how are you all doing as of now? These posts were from about 4 months ago. Have any of you seen improvement?

    I hope things are looking up for you all! Seems like a few of you are "regulars" on this site b/c I've seen other posts on other threads.

    In addition to dry eye in both eyes, I had a flap wrinkle that was re-floated and one eye is 20/20 but blurry (maybe contrast sensitivity loss) and right now I'm so freaked out that my problems will be permanent.

    Leave a comment:


  • SAAG
    replied
    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    Saag, how did you manage for 3.5 years with just artificial tears??? Did you ever get it cleared up, and if so what was the cause and how did they treat it?
    Lasik doc insisted I was perfectly normal, that my eyes looked fine, and that I was "doing GREAT!"

    As for how I managed, for the first 2.5 years or so, I had no pain as long as I used drops every 15 minutes, and did not use the computer for anything other than quick e-mail checks. I avoided getting water in my eyes, since that hurt quite badly, and wore regular sunglasses to cut down on wind when outdoors. Otherwise, I'd just be squinty if my eyes were bothering me more than usual.

    Plus, the place where I worked then did not require me to walk around much, so "wind" from walking around all day indoors wasn't much of an issue either.

    Finally, after years of begging him to do something else since this was clearly not getting back to normal, he said I had "foamy tears" and to use Blephamide drops in each eye every 3rd bedtime. But he refused to do anything else.

    Then in 2008, my eyes started deteriorating further, by 2009, they went totally to hell, and that's when I finally switched doctors since my LASIK surgeon still insisted that I was "doing GREAT." Sigh... he was clearly an idiot.

    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    The person that did the actual LASIK on me is a corneal specialist. He was not just a LASIK operation, which is one of the reasons I chose him. But that seemed to do little good.
    Mine was a corneal specialist too - and all he did was LASIK... was not only the most expensive guy in town, but supposedly the most experienced, having done the most procedures.

    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    I have been back to see the surgeon 2 times for the dry eyes. The first time he put a plug in the right eye and gave me Lotemax for a week. The second time I went back he put a plug in my left eye. He then said the next step would be Restasis. Sounds like he is just going through the motions. The other thing he said which basically made me angry was, "The good news is that the dryness will get back to where it was pre-surgery, the bad news is a I can't tell you when." Thanks alot.
    Yeah, mine told me I'd be normal again too... but he was mistaken. BUT, keep in mind I was getting NO other treatments other than what I described above. So no plugs, no restasis, no treatment for MGD, no omega 3's, nothing else!

    It's good that your dr. is at least willing to do plugs, try Restasis etc. At least he's trying things in the treatment guidelines to see if they help (unlike my LASIK dr). So do try these things... every little bit helps to reduce the inflammation that is likely going on, and less inflammation on your ocular surface is surely going to be helpful in healing you.

    It's unfortunate when you feel like your dr. is merely going through the motions and doesn't actually CARE how you are doing though...

    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    But the person I plan to see for the second opinion is another corneal specialist that is not affiliated at all with where I went. I just hope they can get me in ASAP as I am almost 8 weeks out from the surgery. The problem is that the artificial tears do nothing for me. They give me about 5 minutes of relief. It just feels like I am making ZERO tears!!
    Good to get a second opinion... then you can stick with whatever dr. you feel more comfortable with going forward. In addition to the fact that my current dr. clearly is very familiar with the treatment guidelines, he also acts like a HUMAN at my appointments and like he cares, not like some robot impersonating a dr. who really doesn't give a darn.

    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    I did read that link you sent me and my head almost exploded with all of the info.
    Yeah, I know.. it's a lot. Maybe just print off the chapter on treatment of dry eye, and read it bit by bit as your eyes can tolerate it. The knowledge you will gain will help enormously in evaluating the correctness of the treatments that you are getting for your dryness. Then all that's left is finding a dr. that is not only knowledgable, but personable too.

    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    I thought I was having a decent day today. Then I went to the movies with the wife and kids. That dried them right out.
    Bummer... was the movie good at least?

    Leave a comment:


  • db_9
    replied
    Saag, how did you manage for 3.5 years with just artificial tears??? Did you ever get it cleared up, and if so what was the cause and how did they treat it?

    The person that did the actual LASIK on me is a corneal specialist. He was not just a LASIK operation, which is one of the reasons I chose him. But that seemed to do little good. I would have probably had a better outcome at a LASIK shop!! I have been back to see the surgeon 2 times for the dry eyes. The first time he put a plug in the right eye and gave me Lotemax for a week. The second time I went back he put a plug in my left eye. He then said the next step would be Restasis. Sounds like he is just going through the motions. The other thing he said which basically made me angry was, "The good news is that the dryness will get back to where it was pre-surgery, the bad news is a I can't tell you when." Thanks alot.

    But the person I plan to see for the second opinion is another corneal specialist that is not affiliated at all with where I went. I just hope they can get me in ASAP as I am almost 8 weeks out from the surgery. The problem is that the artificial tears do nothing for me. They give me about 5 minutes of relief. It just feels like I am making ZERO tears!!

    I did read that link you sent me and my head almost exploded with all of the info.

    I thought I was having a decent day today. Then I went to the movies with the wife and kids. That dried them right out.

    Leave a comment:


  • SAAG
    replied
    Originally posted by db_9 View Post
    Unfortunately I had LASIK 7 weeks ago....I just am not sure where to go from here? Should I contact a dry eye specialist this early in the recovery?
    I waited 3.5 years to get a second opinion from someone other than my LASIK surgeon (LASIK guy kept insisting all I needed was artificial tears). Anyone else I know who has had the surgery and had a "normal" recovery, felt great very soon after, just as advertised (ie. next day back at work, within a week they were 100% normal).

    While 7 weeks is indeed early in your recovery (since some have taken 6mo. to a year to get better, or even longer...), and there is every hope that you will recover fully, if it were me, knowing what I know now, I would absolutely 100% get a second opinion from a dry eye specialist (most likely a corneal specialist) who has no affiliation with the place where you had your LASIK done. Perhaps with early intervention and treatment, your eyes will have an even better chance of getting back to "normal"...

    Useful info to know is what is in the treatment guidelines for management of dry eye: http://www.tearfilm.org/dewsreport/p...DEWS-noAds.pdf Skip ahead to the chapter on management of dry eye, to save your eyes reading all the other stuff in there!

    Leave a comment:


  • db_9
    replied
    These forums do help when you know others are battling the same thing as you. Some mornings I dread getting out of bed because I know it's going to be a battle with my eyes. Especially days I have to go to work in front of the computer. Stresses my eyeball out big time. I will keep posting on my progress.

    Marty, you said it took you 5 months to feel normal. Are you 5 months into it now? Or further along? It sounds like you didn't have constant dry eyes? Just a few episodes? How is your vision? I can't tell if mine is slightly blurry due to the dry eyes or the leftover astigmatism. Either way I was much better off with glasses.

    Leave a comment:


  • MartyM1985
    replied
    I can tell you this... 7 weeks isn't that long. Try to be patient... and then be more patient.

    I'm coming off the worst dry eye "episode" I've ever had (only the second one in my life). It took me about 5 months to be even close to feeling normal again, and there's still progress to be made.

    The eyes heal REALLY slowly. Just take solace in the fact that you are still very early into your recovery and there's no reason that in less than a year you could be back to normal-ish. Of course, no one can promise you anything with this stuff, but I would say you definitely have a shot.

    Hang in there and be super patient with yourself. It's not easy, I know.

    Leave a comment:

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