My PRK Experience - Toronto, ON

A few days ago, I went to a consultation for laser...

A few days ago, I went to a consultation for laser eye surgery at Herzig Eye Institute. I went through a number of tests, most of them with an optometrist. The consultation included a standard eye exam, as well as some other procedures that I’ve never been through. I would say the strangest was the use of numbing drops so that the optometrist could do some tests that involved using a device to touch my eyeballs…it only took like 10 seconds for each eye but felt strange to have something touching my eyeballs.


The total appointment ended up taking about 1.5 hours, including the time I spent talking to a salesperson on the cost and the potential dates. I was told by the optometrist that PRK would be the preferred method as my corneas were on the border of the thickness required for Lasik. One eye would be eligible however, for Lasik but rather than do two different procedures I am opting to do PRK on both eyes. It costs $2,500 per eye for any doctor except Dr Herzig himself, which is an additional $200 per eye. I was a bit annoyed when the salesperson told me the price, as my friend is getting her PRK done at the same facility this week and is paying $4,500. So I inquired about this and she informed that this was a promotion for Jan/Feb and that I would need to do my procedure during this month! Somehow I felt as though this was a tactic to get me to book ASAP as some of the surgeons still had availability. But for savings of $500 and a flexible work schedule, I went ahead and booked! My procedure is next week so I will update at that point.


Some things that I was told:
1. Soft contact lenses to be out a minimum of 1 week prior to procedure
2. I’ll need a follow up appointment about three days after my procedure to have the contact lense bandages removed
3. It will be about a week before I can drive again.
I plan to do the procedure on a Thursday and return to work on Tuesday. Fingers crossed that I heal quickly!
I'm definitely super nervous about the procedure and really hope that I have perfect vision after it's all said and done. Right now I have a prescripiton of -5.75 (L) and -5.50 (R) with astigmatism.

Quick update - it is now day 4 post custom...

Quick update - it is now day 4 post custom wavefront PRK procedure (had it done on Thursday morning) and until last night I've pretty much been out of commission and even now I can hardly see what I am typing!

Day of surgery - arrived at Herzig and had a few tests done. I took the valium that was offered to calm my nerves, had a nice back and hand massage, was given instructions on my post op meds (mostly ieye drops) and then met with my surgeon. He did a ew more tests then I was off to the surgery room. The entire procedure is quick - my surgeon was fanstastic - telling me what he was doing and what I would expect (i.e. my vision will be blocked for a few seconds, the contact lense bandage was being placed on my eye). The actual procedure with the laser took 20 seconds per eye (literally - they were counting down). The most "uncomfortable" parts were: the smell of the laser burning (similar to the smell of laser hair removal for those of you who have experienced that) , the cold water flushed into my eye and feeling the metal clamps holding my eyes open (for which i requested more numbing drops and then no longer felt the cold metal). That being said, nothing was painful or very uncomfortable - just strange. Once it was done I could see! Things were a lot more clear than what I would normally have been able to see without contacts or glasses, but not perfect. During the drive home I could not open my eyes even though it wasn't a sunny day and I had the heavy duty sunglasses from the doctor's office. Also the numbing drops wore off during the short ride home and I wish I had taken one of the T3s given to me. That being said, it wasn't painful, but a bit sore. I ended up taking a T3 when I got home to help me sleep off the soreness in my eyes every time I blinked - but I would have just taken Tylenol Extra Strengths if I'd had some on hand.
The day of surgery my vision was quite good, but my eyes were too tired so all I did was sleep.

Day 1 - Went for a post-op appointment that took all of 5 minutes. Again, I slept most of the day, and rested my eyes. My vision was much blurrier than it had been the previous day. My eyes were quite sore at night and I took a Demerol. I had been told it was like a T3 but would make me drowsy so to take it before bed. BAD IDEA. This is a very very strong painklller and while the T3 does not affect me, this Demerol made me extremely ill - I took it at 9pm and was unable to functionthrough to the next day! Be sure that your body can handle it before taking such a strong medication.

Day 2 - Still not able to do much of anything- spent the day fighting off the effects of the demerol I had taken, and resting. My vision was actually worse than the previous day, but I ould also feel my eyes healing as they felt a bit uncomfy.

Day 3 - For most of the day I could not do much - my eyes were still sensitive to light even with the sunglasses on so I couldn't watch tv. Towards the end of the night I was able to watch tv, although everything was pretty blurry.

Day 4 (today) - still off work but I was able to at least read on my ereader - font size XXXL. Surprisingly throughout all of this my eyes have not been dry but I am using the lubricating drops every 2 hours as instructed as it helps the healing process to ensure your eyes are lubricated.

Tomorrow I am heading bback to work - pretty concerned about how that will go when I can hardly see still! In the afternoon I have an appointment to have the contact lense removed and am hoping this will improve my vision.

Update - it's been about 10 days since my...

Update - it's been about 10 days since my procedure. After having the contact lenses removed, my eyes were insanely dry and being at work staring at a computer (magnified 150% lol) did not help matters. I was using lubricating drops every hour or so. Over the weekend,I felt like my eyes improved ever so slightly, eyes were less dry (lubricating drops needed only about 4 times a day), and light sensitivity improved (could watch tv without my sunglasses for a bit, but for long periods it was more comfortable to have sunglasses on). I still cannot drive as my vision is still quite blurry!

The Systane Balance lubricating drops are my favourite ones - they work great.

3 month update and bad news ...

So...long story short...I booked an enhancement surgery this morning for a month and a half from now. It's been approximately 3 months since my surgery. My left eye has seen no improvement since my 1.5 month post surgery appointment - in fact based on some tests, it appears to have gotten a bit worse. Definitely not the kind of results that are expected at the 3 month mark. My right eye continues to improve and hopefully will get to 20/20 at some point.

I am extremely disappointed that my left eye has regressed. I don't know what went wrong but apparently this CAN happen, it's rare compared to the number of successful first time cases. I've gone to a reputable clinic and had a reputable surgeon perform the surgery - perhaps my eyes just didn't heal right.

Final update - 4 months post PRK enhancement

Hi all,
Sorry this update has taken some time for me to post.

I had my enhancement surgery in July 2013, about 5 months after my initial surgery. I want to reiterate that requiring enhancement appears to be quite rare, so I hope this doesn't scare anyone off.

For me, the worst part of the experience was that nobody could tell me WHY there was a regression. What went wrong the first time? Was it my eye not healing correctly? Were the initial measurements taken incorrect? Did something go wrong during my surgery? I asked these questions and was not given a straight answer. Not knowing was the most stressful part for me, because in my mind, if it were my own eye that did not heal, who was to say it wouldn't happen the second time around?!

Another thing that truly angered me was that my enhancement surgery was rescheduled the week that I was supposed to have the surgery. It was inconvenient, as I had arranged for my sister to take a day off work to drive me home. They were able to squeeze me in 2 weeks later, and I was lucky that my work is flexible, but this is not the case for everyone. I was especially angry b/c my initial surgery had been rescheduled as well, so it seems that maybe this kind of stuff happens at Herzig regularly.

ANYWAY. That is all done with now. The enhancement surgery went well. It was quick as there was much less correction needed than my first surgery. The doctor said if I needed a prescription, my eye would be at -2.00 plus my astigmatism needed to be corrected. I was literally under the laser for about 5 seconds (vs 17 seconds or so the first time around).

I also felt like my eye healed a lot faster this time. There was less dryness compared to the first time around, and I was able to rely on my good (right) eye to return to work. I needed less time post surgery to be able to safely drive. I even went on vacation shortly after my surgery (2 weeks post surgery).

In October I had my last appointment w/ an optometrist at Herzig, who told me I now have 20/20 vision. From now on I will see my own optometrist for regular checkups. I still do not think my night vision is 20/20, sometimes I feel like highway signs are blurry. I also don't feel like my vision is as crisp as I would imagine it should be. When you go for eye exams, they will consider you to have 20/20 even if the letters are a bit blurry.

So, while I am glad I no longer require contacts/glasses, I am not 100% happy w/ the results of my treatment. Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations of how crisp and clear 20/20 vision should be. I still get dry eyes but do not use eye drops all the time. It is rare but on occasion I will wake up in the middle of the night and my eye is so dry there are shooting pains and then my eyes water like crazy.

To be honest, due to the scheduling issues and the lack of answers on WHY my eye regressed, I would no longer recommend Herzig Eye Institute to my friends. I know a lot of my friends went there and had no issues w/ their treatment being on schedule and eyes healing, but due to my personal experience, I would not encourage my friends to go there, I would tell them to do their research and ask around for others' experiences.
Herzig Eye Institute

I initially rated this provider highly but as of 12/10/2013, I am revising this, now that my treatment is complete. Please read my last update for reasons why.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
2 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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