21 Feb 2018by Peps Goh
W Eye Clinic Review: My PRK (EpiLASIK) Journey
W Eye Clinic Review: My PRK (EpiLASIK) Journey with Dr Gerard Nah
Shades are something I had zero experience with before my PRK aka PhotoRefractive Keratectomy Laser Eye Surgery with W Eye Clinic. While I was short-sighted, with my glasses off everything is in a blur, and if I were to put a pair of shades on that, I’d see even less, it made no sense for me then. Some suggested me to get a prescriptive sunglasses, and it sounded even more ridiculous for me to carry around 2 pairs of glasses, one for outdoors and then change to my normal one indoors.
But after my PRK procedure, the nurses briefed me that I should wear a pair for UV protection when I am in the sunny outdoors for a year after at least.
Here’s a video sharing my W Eye Clinic Pre and Post PRK surgery experiences.
However, if you prefer reading, I decided to share my recovery journal with W Eye Clinic, for those who are planning to go for PRK Laser Eye Surgery or those who are got a little worried (like me) during the slow but steady recovery process.
Why I Decided To Get It Done
I’m an actor and stunt performer, and frequently I have to perform without my glasses. Contacts isn’t a thing I do because I’m not particularly fond of stabbing myself in the eyes. And so I had always assumed that LASIK was something I would eventually get done.
The moment I decided that I really had to get it done, was in September, when I performed in a Musical called Forbidden City: The Portrait of an Empress. Without my glasses on stage, I couldn’t appreciate the audience’s applause during the curtain call. But more than that, with the stage lights glaring at us, and my myopia combined, I was pretty blind on stage.
And well, amongst other things like singing, acting and fighting, I had to perform a series of acrobatics. It was that point on that I realised that this is more than a small inconvenience, it was a serious career safety concern.
Consultation with Dr Gerard Nah from W Eye Clinic
There is a series of LASIK suitability test run before the doctor will advise you on which procedure is the best fit for your eyes. And while there are several procedures available on the market Eg. ReLEx SMILE, PRK, Intralase LASIK etc (All available at W Eye Clinic), you don’t get to pick and choose per se.
Doctor Nah recommended that the PRK LASIK is the best for me as my cornea thickness isn’t in the range that is most optimal for the regular LASIK procedure.
However each procedure has its own recovery period, and as for the PRK, it differs from people to people, some recover completely in a month while others take up to 3 months.
PRK versus LASIK
A cliff-notes description of PRK is that instead of like LASIK where they close the flap over the lasered surface after the procedure; which would act as a protective layer to the lasered and essentially wounded cornea. In PRK there is no flap, the laser works directly off the top surface of the cornea.
So you pretty much get an exposed open wound, which they will cover with a ‘bandage-contact-lens’ that is kept on for 4-5 days depending on recovery.
For the initial period of recovery, there was a couple of eye care procedures I had to adhere by.
1) An eyedrop solution called, “Cravit – Ophthalmic Solution” had to be applied hourly.
This one is a clear liquid of light viscosity. And the sensation it invokes on the eye is curious to define. I would probably describe it as that it has a similar sensation of touch upon the eye surface as equivalent to how certain white wine tastes on the tongue; wine of the slightly sweet, non-sour and semi-dry assortment.
2) Another eyedrop called, “Pred Forte – Ophthalmic Suspension” had to be applied 4 times a day.
This is a white-translucent suspension, slightly more viscous than regular eyedrops. The sensation when applied is smooth, and probably what a milk bath would feel like. Though in the first couple days, this eyedrop stings the surface of the eye a little.
3) Before sleeping, an eye-gel called, “Solcoseryl” will be applied to keep the eyes lubricated and hydrated through the night.
This is a really viscous clear gel. Personally this one feels better being applied after a drop of regular eyedrops, so it spreads a little smoother and less thickly on the eyes.
And some of the after-care instructions are:
1) They provided a clear plastic cap/shield that you can tape over the eyes before sleeping, so that I don’t rub my eyes by accident during the night in slumber.
2) Don’t get water in them. Because it may go between the bandage lens and your cornea, and that’s not cool. Which means that you gotta adopt slightly different shampooing techniques, and face-cleansing habits, at least for this initial part of the recovery.
3) Avoid strenuous activities/exercise at this stage.
My Post PRK Recovery Journal:
20th November 2017 | Post-Op:
The procedure itself was really quick, you have only 1 job to do, keep looking at that green dot, and don’t jiggle around. Simple. It took me a little more focus though, might be because of my hyperactivity, hah.
They’ll make sure everything is nice and clean around and in your eyes, you look at the greeny for a few counts, and phew phew the red lasers go. It was all done before I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. And rinse and repeat they go for the other eye.
Immediately after the procedure, when the things meant to keep my eyes open through the surgery was removed, my eyelids felt fatigued. My vision is already slightly improved from before.
The nurse guided me over to a resting room, and in my disoriented stupor, she patiently talked me through the aftercare details I should take note of. Things like when and how much eye-drops and the medications I should remember to take. And to avoid getting dust or dirty water into my eyes. No swimming in the next 3 months, chlorine is a big no no.
I got home by myself just fine with a pair of shades and a cap.
21st November 2017 | Recovery Day 1:
The eyes feels warm.Listening to the nurses’ advice, I took the pain-killers while imagining that the moment I open my eyes, laser beams would blast out of them. It takes effort to read and type.
22nd November 2017 | Recovery Day 2:
Marginal improvements to both vision and sensation. I imagine only some a tiny bit of laser beam would shine out of them now.
The eyes also feels like a vampire, extremely sensitive to the light. *vapor rises, guttural roar*. I gotta be that one asshole who goes out in a cap and shades now to ‘dabao’ food.
23rd November 2017 | Recovery Day 3:
Wakes up in the morning and puts glasses on by reflex.
*takes off* *vision clearer*
*flexes arms in front of mirror* *spiderman theme song playing in background*
Vision is the best it’s been since.
Tobey Maguire moment aside, the tingly bits feels much better today. Prior to this, I had some trouble sleeping, but last night i slept for 10 hours straight in contrast.
Opening my eyes hurts in the presence of the sun or any sort of light source, but it doesn’t.. Yay. But I still went and cycled to grab breakfast. Probably not the safest endeavor, pedaling eyes closed half the time next to a road, but who can say no to some adrenaline and Vitamin D, am I right?
24th November 2017 | Removal of Bandage Contact Lens:
Didn’t sleep too well last night, anxious to finally take the lens off looking forward to clear vision, yay. Sight from the left was blurry and had a cute inverse water-droplet bokeh effect last night, looks like Christmas lights. Bandage lens are (finally) removed at W Eye Clinic.
The doctor took a look at my cornea and commented that it’s healing well, and things looks great. And he then proceeded to take the lens off. It doesn’t hurt like I initially expected. It feels just like how it would when taking off a gently adhesive tape.
But except if it was gently adhesiv-ing on the inside of the tip of the hole you pee from. Hah, I know, felt kinda rude. But at least it didn’t hurt, so all was well.
Doctor Nah said the clarity of my vision will be good on some days and bad on others, as the surface of the cornea will still be healing. Good on some days and bad on others, kinda like my self-esteem. I suppose I’ll be just fine. And he told me that while infections are rare, he assured me that if anything comes up, that they can always be reached and they will address it promptly.
The eye drop, “Pred Forte” is now replaced by a new one called, “FML”. Heh.
25th – 26th November 2017 | Recovery Day 5-6
The days after the removal of the bandage contacts was largely uneventful. I begin thinking I’m well enough to schedule work and events into the following week. Eye drops applied regularly, Vision probably about 50-50, pretty solid lest for a slight blur around lights at night.
27th – 29th November 2017 | 1 week after operation
My vision embarked upon a 3 day downward decline. It was a scary moment. I remember that the nurses from W Eye Clinic mentioned that there will be ups and downs.
I slept a whole bunch.
In waking hours, I listened to a series of Youtube lectures by Brandon Sanderson about writing science-fiction and fantasy novels.
30th November 2017 | Recovery Day 10
The discomforts of the previous days have subsided, and my vision gradually improved again. Cheers. I continued listening to lectures online about book writing. I felt like writing a book.
I recalled the nurse’s assurance that I could at any point of time call them up and get a consultation if i get concerned, that resources will always be available should I need it at any point in my recovery, and decided to do it tomorrow.
1st December 2017 | Recovery Day 11
I woke up feeling well enough to travel. Marginal improvements to vision, discomforts have mostly subsided. I still couldn’t keep them open for more than a few seconds. Decided to get my shades from W Optics and decided to drop by the W Eye Clinic to get it checked.
The staff were extremely helpful, and we managed to get an appointment in despite not having a pre-booking. Was really grateful with the service, for in most clinics I’m used to, this isn’t the norm at all.
Doctor Nah was curious, and he haven’t really seen this before. But his calm demeanour reassured me that it’s nothing terrible. He said my healing is extremely aggressive, that the cells have multiplied so fast that they are crashing into and overlapping each other. But that it’s not a big cause for concern, that it will pass, but that it IS unusual, so he’ll keep a close eye (haha get it?) on it and scheduled another appointment on the 4th.
Made sense. I had fused hairline fractures under 3 days several times before. Once I had an open wound seal by evening, a small cut that was made in that very morning before. My body has been pretty well practiced at patching me up, I guess it just overdid it with my cornea.
If Logan’s healing factor was a bit of a careless idiot, that would be what happened to my cornea I guess. I went home with a peace of mind, knowing that it will clear up over a handful of weeks.
I was prescribed a new eyedrop, “Dexamethasone” to replace the previous “FML”
2nd – 4th December 2017 | Recovery Day 12-14
Next followed 3 days of gradual clearing up of my vision. I still can’t type or read well, especially from my phone. A big thank you to all whom took the effort to communicate with me via voice messages these passed many days, it really helped <3 much appreciated.
Doctor took a look in today’s appointment and is pleased with the improvements. The cornea is gradually becoming smoother. And he set another appointment for the coming Thursday to make sure. We feel so much better kept under his constant and patient observation.
With an assured mind, I rested better over this few days.
5th – 7th December 2017 | Recovery Day 15-17
More gradual improvements to the vision, it’s back to what is probably 50-50 once again. The doctor took another look and is satisfied with the recovery. And I begin working again. And whilst it isn’t 100% yet, it has recovered to a point where it is already more convenient than before the procedure not having to have a pair of glasses while I move around.
The next appointment will be what was the previously arranged 1 month from operation’s appointment check. We’re back onto the original clock!
8th – 17th December 2017 | Recovery Day 18-27
Eyes have almost recovered to completion, except for a slight ‘softness’ on the otherwise sharp vision on the edges. I would describe it as almost a low opacity double vision on words that I read. Like so:
Not much changes as the days went by. They get dry in air-conditioned environments and I apply the eye-drops periodically, but outdoors they don’t get any particularly dryer then before the procedure.
On the 12th, I tried out acrobatics for the first time being able to see clearly. Before the PRK, I had always performed them semi-blind.
I can now see the world in clarity as it rotates and spins around me. Life is good.
18th December 2017 | Recovery Day 28
Went to another scheduled appointment with W Eye Clinic. The recovery has settled and stabilised. Instructions to continue using “Dexamethasone”. They come in this tiny brush-shaped sachet the size of 2 fifty-cent coins lined side to side. They are good for 6-10 drops, and lasts 12 hours from opening.
Another appointment is scheduled in January start, till then I’m instructed to keep using the Dexa 4 times a day. It’s a clear liquid, not so different from a regular eye-drop in sensation.
19th December 2017 – 1st January 2018 | Recovery Day 29 – 42
The sensations have gradually improved so slightly from day to day that you don’t really notice it happening. They still get dryer in the air-conditioning, but with regular eyedrops, it isn’t anything particularly inconvenient. The convenience of not having to wipe my glasses coming out of an airconditioned room far outweighs it.
I remember reading about how in some people, the night-vision is reduced after procedure. I haven’t noticed anything of the sort for myself. As for the vision, the slight double vision is still there, but slowly fading away. I have become more aware of maintaining my hygiene when it comes to my eye region, as well becoming more disciplined about having eye-breaks between my video-editing work.
2nd January 2018 – 11th January 2018 | Recovery Day 43 – 53
On my appointment on the 3rd with W Eye Clinic, there wasn’t any improvements to the vision. But Doctor Nah says that looking at my progress so far. he’s optimistic that it’ll clear up just fine in a couple more weeks. The eye pressure has gone up just a bit, hence i was prescribed “Timolol-POS”, another eyedrop to be used twice a day. It’s a clear solution with a viscosity is similar to the regular eye drops. Sensation-wise, it feels minty and cooling. “Dexa” doses to be continued.
I use between 3-7 sticks of eyedrops daily these days depending on activity levels. It’s been improving gradually from before.
12nd January 2018 – 19th January 2018 | Recovery Day 54 – 60
The double vision is gradually fading, only a faint shadow of it remains. I had another appointment on the 17th. My eye pressure has improved from before and had gone down some. Doctor Nah took a look, and once again is glad that the scarring on my cornea had continued to improve as before, and commented that it’s only been 2 months, it will only continue getting even better.
“Timolol-POS” to be continued twice a day for the eye density, and “Dexa” dosage to be reduced to 3 drops a day.
20th January 2018 – 5th Febuary 2018 | Recovery Day 61 – 77
On the last appointment, Doctor Nah had swapped out the “Dexa” with “Lotemax”. It’s a slightly milky colored suspension that doesn’t feel anymore viscous than a regular eyedrop does. And the recovery progress is looking good to Doc, and so the final check up is scheduled at the end of the 3 month mark.
As for my vision, it has gradually been getting better. If I were to compare it now to a month ago, i’ll notice a huge improvement. But day to day the changes are so minute that I don’t notice it improving. The changes are paced enough that my mind can get used to my new vision smoothly.
Left the country for a work trip last week, and for the first time, I had deeply appreciated the new clarity in my vision. For one thing, the convenience of not having to have a pair of corrective glasses on during a travel is incomparable. For another, looking into the endless skyline of the Himalayan mountain range with my naked eyes just feels so liberating. Not having the limited width of the spectacle frame restricting the panorama of the horizon while appreciating the view in full clarity, I am really thankful for W-Eye.
6th January 2018 – 22th Febuary 2018 | Recover Day 78 – 3 months from op
The final eye check day had come, and all was well. Doctor Nah concluded that my eye was well in it’s recovery journey, and mentioned that the scars on my cornea will continue to get better and fade in time, although at this point, the ‘scars’ no longer affects my vision and are all but invisible to me, but I am to continue my once a day dose of the “Lotemax” until 1 month from the time the bottle is opened.
Thank you Doctor Nah! I’m thankful that I had my PRK journey with W eye Clinic. And a big thank you to the patient staff and reception for taking such good care of me!
By the way, W Eye Clinic gives you a $50 voucher after the procedure for a pair of shades at W Optics right literally next door.
And hence, the pair I don now is a pair of classic Aviator – black lens and gold frame from W Optics. I didn’t think my face shape suited big frames before, but it turned out that they work well for angular faces!
On a separate note, talking about this pair of shade with my good friend Valentino, he told me something I didn’t know before. Apparently wearing “fake” shades in the sun is worse for your eyes than not wearing any at all!
How does that work? Well, when your eyes are behind a pair of non-legit lens, your iris would respond to the obscured light by dilating to let more light in. And when the lens doesn’t actually have the ability to shield off UV light, your eyes end up getting an even larger dose of UV rays than it typically would. Wow, that makes sense, I didn’t think about this before at all!
Hence please do make sure when you are purchasing a pair that it has UV protection! Over at W Optics, they have a fitting station, and it looks much like a booth in a hair salon, where they’ll help you find out what works best your face shape and fit the frame to your face. It’s really fancy, I think everyone should try that out at least once in their life.
W Eye Clinic Address:
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City (near tower 5)
#01-402 Singapore 038983
Contact Number: +65 6337 9119 | Email: email@example.com