“Trust the process. Your time is coming. Just do the work and the results will handle themselves.” –Tony Gaskins
January 31 to February 5 (Days 9 to 14 Post-Op)
I decided to go cold turkey and stopped wearing my goggles, since my doctor already said I could do away with wearing them. I only wore them when doing activities where I risk getting something into my eyes, like when I bake. I figured that if I wore the goggles for much longer, it was neither going to do anything for my paranoia, nor help me consciously break my eye-rubbing habit. Thankfully, I have not rubbed my eyes in my sleep, nor have I done anything to disturb my healing corneal flaps. What I can say though, is that I have started sleeping much longer, once I did not have any goggles to be conscious about in my sleep.
With longer sleep, however, came drier eyes upon waking up. Unlike the previous week when I used to wake up every three hours or so, I managed to drop on some lubricants on my eyes before going back to sleep. Hence, I did not wake up with very dry eyes. Not this week though. Eight to nine hours of straight sleep? Hello dry eyes in the morning! Thankfully, I got my lubricant eye drops to help me deal with the dryness.
From time to time, I would check each eye to see which one could see more clearly than the other. Then, I’d freak out when I was having episodes of blurry vision. My sister scolded me and said that I was putting too much pressure on myself and was expecting magically perfect vision immediately. She reminded me that when she had her PRK back in 2011, it took her six months for her vision to stabilize (still within normal recovery period), with regular monitoring by Dr. Nepomuceno. By stressing too much about my LASIK recovery, I was noticing every single fluctuation and was beating myself up for it. Oh well, competitive spirit. We need to chill for now. Let the eyes do its healing in its own time.
To help me not abuse my eyes so much, I downloaded an app to remind me to look at objects 20 feet away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes that I was working on my computer or reading a book. My phone would beep after the 20-minute timer ends, signaling me to look away. This, on top of my hourly alarms for my eye drops, helped tremendously. By day 14, the blurry episodes were limited to the first one to two hours in the morning, as my eyes adjusted after waking up and feeling dry from the night before.
February 6 to 12 (Days 15 to 21 Post-Op)
My aunt treated me and my mom to lunch at a Korean barbecue on Saturday, February 6. I decided to wear my goggles while we ate to protect my eyes from the smoke from the grill. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any significant fluctuation in my vision. My eyes didn’t feel very dry throughout the day either, even if I missed to drop on lubricants while we ate. I guess my eyes were very glad to see stuff apart from the usual things at home and the view from my window.
There were less fluctuations to my vision this week, with nothing as bad as days 11 and 12. I also noticed that at night, my vision seems clearer and much more focused, with my eyes not feeling as dry. However, if I stared too long at my monitor, even with the 20-20-20 practice with the help of the app I downloaded, my eyes would tire or dry out much quicker.
On days I went out, after my LASIK procedure, I didn’t wear any make up. Skin care was limited to washing my face or using micellar water and cotton pads. What I did do was discard old and used make up and skin care products that were already past their use-by-after-opening dates. I didn’t want to risk getting infection, so I kept only the ones that were unopened and still good for use. I got a new set of skin care products, but make up can wait until after June, when we hopefully safely end our work-from-home setup.
February 13 to 19 (Days 22 to 28)
By this week, dry eyes were mostly during the first few hours after waking up, and when my eyes got tired from my work during my shift. I continued dropping lubricants every hour that I was awake though, as instructed by my doctor. However, GenTeal wasn’t doing it for me anymore, with its moisturizing effect not lasting as much as I needed it to.
This week, I noticed that my right eye wasn’t having that much problems with focusing at things from a distance, even during the first few hours from waking up. My left eye, though, still struggled a bit with focusing. When I covered my right eye for my left one to read signages that I could see from my window, I could still notice how my vision would be blurry, slowly becoming clearer and clearer. Once it managed to focus properly, it could see just as clearly as my right eye. It wasn’t as bad in the afternoon or at night, though. Maybe because my left eye muscles have had its share of exercise during the day and has already warmed up? At least my right eye’s pretty stable already.
I bought a non-prescription eyeglass that has blue light filtering mechanism. I also started turning on the night light mode on my laptop and my phone. My attempt to filter blue light does not have anything to do with blue light affecting my LASIK outcome. My reason was more about blue light’s impact on my circadian rhythm and melatonin levels. The more exposed I was to blue light, the longer it took for me to fall asleep after work, and the more I was inclined to pass time looking at my phone to kill boredom. Such cycle would dry out and tire my eyes out and I don’t want that.
February 20 (Day 29, 3rd post-op check-up)
I visited Peregrine Eye and Laser Institute (PELI) again for my third check-up post my LASIK procedure. I was assigned a different person this time to check on my visual acuity. Thankfully, she was patient and understanding when I asked for some time to my eyes to focus on the chart I had to read. With both eyes open, I could easily read at 20/20 level. With my left eye closed, my right eye only took a few seconds to focus and clearly read the letters I had to. With only my left eye open though, it took much longer to focus, although I only missed one letter from the set.
After having my visual acuity checked, Dr. Nepomuceno checked my eyes for any concern, most likely on my corneal flaps. He said everything was great and that from my visual acuity check, my vision great and they weren’t seeing any eye grade. Thus, there’s really no need for eyeglass anymore. I informed him that my left eye was taking longer to focus when I start looking at objects or reading signages from far away. We acknowledged that my left eye’s vision was still fluctuating, but it should just keep on getting better.
We agreed to change my eye lubricant to Cationorm, which contains mineral oils to help keep the moisture longer. He told me to drop some on my eyes at least six times in a day, and to tell him right away in case my eyes do not react very well to it. Because of that, I did not buy an entire bottle right away (it costs 1.6x than GenTeal!). Instead, I bought a couple of 0.4ml vials to try out first. Thankfully, my eyes seemed fine with Cationorm and it does feel much more lubricating than GenTeal. Still, I hope to get rid of dry eyes as soon as possible.
My next check-up is going to be in April, three months after my procedure. I will continue to write updates about my recovery process.
Tip: Don’t just save for your refractive eye surgery cost. Save extra for post-surgery care like your lubricating eye drops. Each one reacts and adjusts differently to the procedure. Therefore, our after-care needs and routines might be different. It’s best to have some funds set aside for that.
For all of my posts on my LASIK journey, visit: https://sunshineandrobins.wordpress.com/category/health-and-wellness/my-lasik-story/