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  • Writer's pictureJon

One Month Update: The Prescription Eye Drop Refill Drama


  • Dry eyes in the morning

  • Left eye seems to have some haziness still, but the right eye is almost perfect.

  • Starburst around lights at night. Seems to mostly be in my left eye.

  • Looking at objects up close gives me an almost instant headache.

The second half of the month was mostly uneventful. I was able to resume long hours at work staring at a computer screen. I was driving when I needed to, which was no problem at all during the day (with sunglasses), and doable at night, but not really fun because I had some significant starbursting with car lights. The starburst effect was stronger in my left eye, which has also be slower to heal. I noticed when I closed my left the starbursting, while still there, was much less significant. Another annoying side effect was an inability to focus on things up close because it would give me a massive headache really quickly. I could look at my computer screens because they were two or three feet from my eyes, but if I was holding my baby boy in my arms and looking at his face up close, then I'd quickly get these headaches. Looking at my phone too close would have the same effect. I'm hoping this isn't a long-term side effect because it can be really annoying.

Keeping up with steroid drops four times a day was starting to get annoying. A few times I forgot to take them to work with me, so I'd miss my mid-day drop. Didn't seem like that big of a deal to me. On a quick day trip to DC, I forgot to take the drops with me and my vision seemed to improve. I started looking into the science behind the steroid drops and found that doctors use them to promote healthy healing of the eye and minimize the chance of corneal haze, but the side effect is that healing happens slower.

Before surgery I was told to fill a prescription for two bottles of the steroid eye drops and that I would use them all. On the Friday before my one month checkup, I ran out of the steroid drops and figured that I wouldn't worry about since I was seeing the doctor next week and he was probably going to tell me to stop using them anyway. Well… turns out the doctor likes to ween his patients off the drops and I still needed to do four drops for the next week, and then three for the week after, and so on until I was done. I asked for a new prescription and they looked at me like I was an idiot and said I could have just gone to the pharmacy and asked for a refill. I'm not one to take very many prescription drugs, and I can't remember a time I had to get a refill, so I'm going to blame the doctor's office for not be specific about that in advance… that's fair, right?

The next problem was getting the steroid drops refilled, which turned out to be harder than anticipated as none of the Duane Reade pharmacies had them in stock. I went to three pharmacies and then the last one called three others, but they ended up telling me I'd have to wait a day because it was on manufacturer back-order and they'd need to get it from a wholesaler. The next day, I hadn't heard from the pharmacy and called them around 6:30pm and they told me they did get a bottle in stock, but it was 15ml, not the 10ml that the doctor prescribed… so I needed to get a new prescription from my doctor. Ugh. I called the doctor, but they had closed for the day, so I sent an email. The next morning I got a somewhat angry email from the nurse that I should have tried other Duane Reades and that the doctor is very concerned that I'm compromising my vision. I responded with the full story on how they were on back-order and that she should probably let their other patients know that they can't be found anywhere (and I wanted to tell her to get off my back, but I was polite).

Anyway, I got the drop and started gradually weening off the drops. In total, I was off them for five days before I started again, and frankly, my eyes felt great. Oh yeah, at my one month appointment I was 20/20 in my right eye and 20/25 in my left, which the doctor said was due to a slight corneal haze that might have developed when I went off the steroids. I told him that the vision in my left eye had actually gotten much better over the weekend after I stopped the drops. He didn't seem to believe me and shrugged it off. More on that in my next update…

Another thing I finally got around to was purging my apartment of all the eye still I would no longer need since I wasn't going to be putting in contacts anytime soon. I have fun finding bottles of eye drops for contacts and overnight solution and chucking them in the garbage. I held on to the actual contacts for a few weeks.. For some reason I struggled to actually throw them away because I know how expensive they were. I used dailies and would spend more than $600 a year on them and I still had a couple month's supply. Eventually I chucked those in the garbage too.

I think coming to terms with a life without glasses or contacts take more time with PRK than with Lasik because the first week or two are so painful and annoying that you don't really have time to sit back and enjoy your improved eyesight. That said, I think I'm starting to get there. A life with no contacts, no glasses, (hopefully) no eye drops, sounds amazing. As I've mentioned before, I travel a lot, so I love the idea of packing for a trip and not stressing out over whether I remembered my glasses or contacts.

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