This is gonna be a rather lengthy post detailing my TransPRK journey with Clearvision's Dr Tony Ho so far (Day 9 post-surgery). But first...
DISCLAIMER: I am not sponsored by Clearvision or Dr Tony Ho ah pls ah. I not influencer. I'm just giving an honest review so that people who are considering transPRK know about my experience. And yes, this is the experience I had - as I've come to notice, it varies from people to people so things may be different.
Why did I decide to go for corrective eye surgery?
I've had pretty bad vision since... 11? 12? I can't remember. All I remembered taking horrible care of my eyes because I wanted to wear glasses. I thought they looked cool. I am not overstating this but biggest regret of my life. Now I'm paying it with surgery and money, cries.
I'm highly active - I enjoy going for runs, doing sports, doing extreme sports when I'm abroad, etc... and I am often disgusted at the inconvenience my vision gave me. It has been amplified x10 because of this whole WFH situation because I wear glasses at home and whenever I wanted to go for a run, I had to pop on contacts (running with glasses + oily nose bridge = me doing finger push ups).
I used to have very bad infections with contacts too D: Like, pus-ridden swelling bad. But glasses made my face feel so oily and gross... also, I don't like how I looked with most glasses on! In recent years I've found some styles I liked but majority of my younger years were spent with ugly glasses. u__u
I wanted to do it in 2020 because I wanted to use the 20/20 vision joke but the joke is on me because due to my high astigmatism, my eyes can only be corrected to about 25/20 or 35/20? I don't remember what Dr Ho told me hahaha. Oh but it is a very small difference and they say I can barely notice any difference (which is true).
All jokes aside, I wanted to correct my eyes since my early twenties after realizing that hey, I can actually do something about my vision. I did some research then and found out it is best to do it after 25, and so I kinda waited. Plus I was in university, so I had plenty else on my plate.
Now due to the whole COVID situation I felt like it was the perfect time to do it. I wanted to get it done this year anyway, and this was the perfect time to do it! Since I'll be WFH most of the time I can minimize going outside, reducing the chances of UV rays hurting my recovering eyes. I don't have to bring my eyedrops with me to work too! Also, nothing is happening event-wise during this period... so I don't have to plan too ahead or miss out on anything. Seemed like the time was then, and I am really glad I decided to go for it!
To be honest I didn't do a lot of research on the other methods. All I knew was that I didn't want a blade cutting my eyes x__x no please, just no. So when I found out about TransPRK I just tunneled and focused on researching about it. I even scarred myself in the process with some mild horror stories on reddit. I went for it anyway... .__.
But!!! Clearvision has very nicely provided a small comparison table! They also have brochures at their clinic detailing each alternative procedure. However, they only do the ones listed under their services. Their abundance of information and transparency made me feel very secure in choosing them to be my clinic of choice, heh.
What is TransPRK?
TransPRK is a non-invasive procedure that involves NO CUTTING, NO TOOLS TOUCHING YOUR EYES. Only the laser does the zapping. How does it work? Inserting an image from Clearvision's website because they're the experts.
Aside from eye correction, I also did the additional:
During the first evaluation check-up to see if I am suitable for the procedure, Dr Ho told me I had pretty high astigmatism... so he recommended the Cross-Linking procedure on top of the correction. I agreed of course, because yea I've been told my astig was high at every optometrist I've been to. Also, I rather be safe than sorry.
Read more about the process/cross-linking HERE on their website!
How long does the procedure last?
Each eye lasts about 5 minutes? But near 10 minutes if you're also doing Cross-Linking. So, my surgery took around 15-20 minutes I think.
From here I'll document what I can remember from surgery day till now!
Day 1 - The Surgery
I arrived, scared shitless, at the clinic. The nurses did some allergy tests with the medicated eyedrops on me before gearing me up for the surgery. The entire time I was basically trembling with fear. I wondered if I made a horrible mistake and I wanted it all to be just a nightmare hahahaha.
I was so nervous pre-surgery that I exited the waiting area and stood around, omg.
pre-surgery cyborg-ish me. can you see the fear in my eyes.
Right before it was my turn, I told I was scared hahaha I have no shame okay. They sweetly asked if I wanted a plushie to hold on to and I said yes. They then had a conversation about giving me the big plushie HAHAHA.
When I entered the operating theater I was given the plushie which turned out to be a cute pink dolphin!!! I hugged it when I was on the operating table though I am pretty sure it didn't help me calm my nerves in the least. As I was laying there I was still thinking "HMM IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO BACK OUT NOW LEL"
me on the operating table! that lump is the pink dolphin plushie I was squishing HAHAHA. I'm not sure if this was before or after the surgery.
After about 30-40 seconds it was done, and he proceeded to do the cross-linking procedure which involved a lot of yellow liquid covering my eyes and a bright red laser (which didn't hurt or anything - it was just shining into my eye).
Then it was the left eye's turn and... it was pretty smooth. That kinda confirmed my suspicions that my right eye didn't take well to the numbing drops :( I was clenching my teeth when Dr Ho started on the left eye, prepping myself for the pain, but thank goodness none came.
Soon, it was all over and clear bandage lenses were put into my eye. I was being helped up to take a photo with Dr Ho and whisked out by the nurses for the next patient. But holy crap was the pain real af. My eyes were stinging like crazy and I couldn't help but tear consistently and asking myself why I did this in the first place. I swear, I was so upset.
me with the sunglasses they gave, post-surgery @ the clinic
When asked, the nurses said it was normal and I had to go home and sleep. So, I rushed home, scoffed down lunch, took the painkillers+sleeping pills, and slept.
The moment I woke up I felt 0 pain. The worst was finally over, thank fucking all things sacred. I could eat a bit and play with my niece through the blurriness of my vision... but it took too much effort for my eyes to be open, so I slept pretty early soon after at about 11pm with the hope that my eyes will eventually heal...
Day 2 - Boredom and Sleep
I. Slept. A. LOT. Like, a lot.
6-7 hours in a day aside from the usual 7? That is like 14 hours. Some of you people might be scoffing and boasting that you can sleep for longer but hey, this is a ton for me. I usually function on 6-7 hours just fine without naps and topping that off with an additional 7 is a feat.
In the waking hours, aside from food, I mostly listened to podcasts... Critical Role, How Stuff Works and some Japanese Language dialogues. But I was still bored... it sucks not being able to see well. They say you always want what you can't have and I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS that I couldn't do.
Sleeping was pretty easy because my eyes felt so tired I just wanted to sleep anyway. Pretty uneventful day of healing. I managed to play a little bit of Overcooked - could see moving figures and stuff but had to guess the ingredients, which made me a pretty bad co-op partner, HEH.
I couldn't wash my face with anything but a wet towel though, so that kinda grossed me out a little. Got used to it though.
Day 3 - Followup 1
Day of check-in with Dr Ho! He said my eyes were healing well, at about 50%? Things were still blurry to me so I found it hard to believe, but I was happy about the news. Another uneventful day. Played with my niece a lot. Apparently, that is all I do when I am visually impaired, be a baby's bestfriend.
Day 4 - Panic and more Sleep
WOKE UP WITH BURNING EYES.
I felt like the bandage lenses were going to pop out of my eyes. Or at least, I wanted to take them out sooooo bad. I dropped some prescribed wetting eyedrops but it didn't do the trick.
Being a worry-wart, I insisted on seeing Dr Ho again. I asked the boyfriend to call the clinic and they said I could come in at 2:30pm. But I was in too much pain, so I called again and insisted to be seen ASAP omg so paiseh but I legitimately felt something was wrong. They were soooo nice and said I could catch Dr Ho before his surgery starts.
When I arrived we only waited a few minutes before Dr Ho popped in the door. He was very surprised to see me but took it in good stride. Turns out, the bandage lenses are sticking very tightly to my eyes and were super dry. I just had to drip A TON of wetting eyedrops and also continue on another medicated eyedrop (which I stopped, as instructed from the Wednesday check up).
All in all everything was fine. Popped on the sunglasses, went home, and surprise surprise... slept.
Day 5 - I CAN SEE!!! PRAISE BE!!!
This was the day I finally felt functional. The past few days felt like a haze - could barely remember the details.
I didn't nap AT ALL. I even took a walk at night to the nearby shops. By this day being inactive for so long has made me feel like a slug, hah. I was glad to be able to walk around and see majority of the world in clarity. Night lights were still hazy though... not sure if it was my eyes or the bandage lenses. Functional does not mean functioning well, and my eyes still got pretty tired. Easily rectified with eye drops and rest!
Also, this was the day I could see myself clearly in the mirror and man, I was shocked at how I looked like without coloured contacts/glasses HAHAHA. I've only ever worn coloured contacts for about 10 years now? So it has been a good decade since I've seen my face without coloured contacts in HD. Weird. It was weird. Anyway...
I thought because of my nap-less day I would be totally ready to sleep at night but NO. I tossed and turned for quite a bit??? I think the past few days of sleep-filled days made me restless. Eventually I managed to sleep but with a lot of discomfort - eyes dry af, had to keep waking up to drip the wetting drops.
Day 6 - Followup 2, Jebaited
The day I get my bandage lenses removed!!! Finally, to be rid of the infernally dry objects nesting within my eyes... or so I thought.
Dr Ho told me my eyes were technically healed and he wanted to remove the bandage lenses. But, on second thought, he said he didn't want to be too gung ho and decided to leave it in instead. D: Apparently I am on the slow side when it comes to healing, probably because I had to go on additional medication due to the pain on Day 4. Eyes, why you do me like this?!
Well, I'm glad for the extra precaution but I was so excited for them to be removed! Dr Ho did give me the okay to run/exercise though, which was just the boost I needed.
I prepped myself for another two nights of an immersive desert experience in my eyes.
Day 7 - Dry High
Woke up with dry eyes, again. Eyes are pretty functional, clear most of the time. Also, got smacked me in the rib cage - this was how I woke up. Played with baby niece again, and had takoyaki for lunch.
Day 8 - BANDAGES BYE
THE DAY OF RECKONING HAS COMEEEEEEEEEE!!! FOR REAL THIS TIME!!!
When removing the bandages, Dr Ho waved them around like a slain foe, proudly saying "See? Remove already!" (he waved it around for both bandages, heh). I thought my eyes would finally feel normal but NOPE. Still lacking lubrication. Natural side effect of the medication though, and it is way better without the lenses... I no longer feel like I have something in my eyes.
Eyes felt a bit naked at first but got used to it, and it felt like my eyes were truly recovering :D
my automatic zombie-looking cheese for the camera with Dr Ho - do not be fooled, my eyes had already started to sting at that point... but thanks to the aftercare I did and the efforts of Dr Ho and the Clearvision team, I am now well on the road to recovery!
TransPRK surgery recovery is a long road. Maybe a bit longer for me??? Well, generally it takes about a month to stabilize, but could take up to 6 months to a year!
I'm on Day 9 now and due to the medication, my vision is still a little blurry and eyes still get dry from time to time. The hardest part for me is remembering to take the medication!!! The times to take them vary and sometimes I forget, opps. I still gotta put on the sunglasses for at least a month if I go outside too(but thanks to COVID I'm mostly stuck at home anyway), but all these are small hassles compared to getting almost perfect eyesight. I no longer have to reach for my glasses, heheheh.
The Clearvision team has been nothing but accommodating, patient, and kind to me! As far as I can tell from my visits there (4 visits down to their clinic in a week... 4 visits to town in a week... record-breaker for this SG Westsider) they take care of all their patients very well. I absolutely recommend them!
Total damage to my bank: SGD$5,172 - for correction on both eyes + cross-linking!
I hope this post gives you some insight on how this procedure is like, and I hope it helps whoever is looking through this and considering going for TransPRK! Hope it gives some of ya'll a better idea of what to expect. If you have any other questions about my experience feel free to contact me :)
Now I'm gonna go for my run without having the need to squish contacts in my eyes, YAY.