As my November article recommended,
I researched my doctors thoroughly and chose Dr. John Olkowski,
M.D. of Eyesight Hawai‘i. My decision was based on many
things, from how professional the website looked to the fact
that they had some of the most up-to-date lasers available.
Dr. Olkowski’s office also offered the “CareCredit
program,” a family heathcare card designed to help people
pay for medical care that their insurance does not cover. It
allowed me to charge the surgery and pay it off in monthly installments.
I arrived on surgery day with a few jitters, but after a valium
I was doing fine. The doctor put a device over my eye to hold
the eyelids open, and he put in numbing drops, but they were
not enough. As the doctor started working on my eye with a device
that looked like something the dentist would use to clean plaque
off your teeth, I could still feel the layer of my eye being
removed, and I almost jumped out of my seat. The doctor put more
numbing drops in, thank God.
After the surgery, which only took 10 minutes, I was moved
to a room where I napped for a few minutes until the doctor
my eyes and sent me home. I was given a bag full of goodies:
eyes drops, anti-bacterial drops, numbing drops, dark glasses,
and eye protectors for nighttime. The whole surgical appointment
only took an hour and a half, and most of it had been filling
out paper work and getting instructions.
My eyes stung a bit when I left, and I couldn’t really
see much at all. A friend drove me home. I went straight to bed.
The doctor’s brochure had warned of 24-28 hours of “post-operative
pain,” but not for me. I had three days of constant pain.
The brochure also said I could go back to work the next day:
I don’t consider myself a wimp, but the post-surgery pain
was some of the worst pain I have ever had. It reminded me of
putting a contact lens into an infected eye and then trying to
close the eye with a little stone stuck under the eyelid.
I used the two bottles of numbing drops that came with my care
kit within the first 24-hours. Finally, I could take it no longer
and had to call the doctor to get a prescription for painkillers.
PRK is the only laser eye surgery that has this kind of pain.
LASEK and LASIK have less surface area to heal and therefore
are less painful.
The doctor had placed contact lens on my eyes immediately after
the surgery to hold everything together and protect them. I ended
up taking out the lenses on the third day because the anti-bacteria
drops I was using had clouded them. Once the contact lenses were
removed, I began to get a sense of how my vision was improving.
On the fourth day I had my first post-surgical appointment
to check on the progress of my surgery. The doctor said my
looked really good. He gave me more drops and told me I didn’t
need to come back for at least a month. I was driving again and
actually seeing pretty well by this point. My eyes were super
sensitive and dry, but I was seeing things I would never have
seen without my contacts.
Three weeks later, without glasses or contacts, I can see
just as well as I did with them. My eyes are still sensitive
sun, but that too will improve.
Dr Olkowski was professional and supportive every step of
the way. He prescribed painkillers when I needed them,
and he explained
why I was feeling the pain. I am 100 percent happy I had
PRK. It was not fun, but definitely worth it in the long
Still, if you were not trying to get into Army Aviation School,
I would recommend going with LASEK or LASIK.