I had corrective eye surgery done at the CMU LASIK Center. Most people get LASIK, but I got a procedure called PRK because I suffered from a thinning of the cornea known to be a common side effect of being near-sighted.
LASIK vs. PRK: There are two main types of corrective eye surgery: LASIK and PRK. The difference between the two is the recovery process. For LASIK, the recovery process is about 2 to 3 days, and you’ll typically be able to see the minute you step out of the doctor’s office. For PRK, the recovery process is longer and more tedious. PRK has an official recovery time of about 7 to 10 days, but most will be dealing with the healing implications of PRK for up to three months after surgery.
Another difference between the procedures is how they are done. When you get LASIK, the doctor cuts a small flap into the eye, does the laser, and then flips the flap back up – voila! PRK is different because the doctor dissolves the cornea’s most outer layer, does the laser, and then the cornea must heal and regrow itself. The act of dissolving the cornea leads the eye to have an open wound, unlike in LASIK, where the flap is cut and then replaced. Open wounds lead to a more extended healing period, and with this comes more post-operative rules you will have to follow.
I had the option to get LASIK or PRK but ultimately chose PRK because PRK is a better alternative for a long term outcome. The cornea regrows, which gave my cornea a chance to grow back stronger than before. An added benefit of PRK also involves not losing too much corneal space, which is especially important if you need another corrective vision procedure. Also, because they cut a flap while doing LASIK, it never fully heals, which means that depending on your lifestyle, your flap could potentially come off if you are doing extreme activities. I specifically mentioned wanting to go skydiving, and when I said that, the doctors said PRK would be the best fit for me.
Where Can I Get It Done in Chiang Mai?
CMU LASIK Center: 110 ถนน อินทวโรรส ตำบล ศรีภูมิ อำเภอเมือง จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ Chiang Mai, Thailand 50200. The CMU LASIK Center is on the 8th floor inside the Center for Medical Excellence building off Suthep Road, directly across from the McDonald’s at the intersection just before Suan Dok Hospital. It’s on the road where Salad Khunnai rests on the corner. The location is central and easy to find. If you’re going by GPS, make sure to put in the Center for Medical Excellence as your destination.
How Much Does It Cost?
PRK costs 45,000 baht (1500 USD) while LASIK costs (2700 USD). The price difference is rooted in the recovery period’s convenience because LASIK heals quickly, while PRK takes longer.
What to Expect During the Procedure: The PRK procedure took less than five minutes. When I arrived at the center, I had to sign documents, pay for the procedure, have my vision rechecked, and received all of the information about post-operative care. They give you numbing eyedrops, antibacterial eye drops, and clean your whole face, so everything is sterilized. During the procedure, I was told to stare at a green light and to stare straight ahead. The procedure was effortless. The doctor kept my eye open with a metal mechanism, and then she used a brush to brush away (dissolve/destroy) the top of my cornea. Once that was finished, she conducted the laser procedure for both my right and left eyes. Once the laser finished, they placed contacts over my eyes to be worn for seven days straight to protect the cornea through the most delicate timeframe of the healing process. The moment the machine moved away from my face, I opened my eyes, and I could see my doctor’s face – clearly – hovering above me.
What Does Post-Op Care Look Like: Post-operative care is not too difficult. One eyedrop is a painkilling eyedrop, which is to be used four times a day for three days. There is also an antibacterial eyedrop, to be used use four times a day for two weeks. Finally, the most tedious of all the drops are the artificial lubricating drops. They must be used every 30 minutes for one week or two weeks, depending on how dry your eyes feel. My vision was indeed blurry after the procedure, but there was no blindness, no darkness, or anything of the sort. I was even able to see my phone, order a Grab, and get home independently. When I arrived home, I watched TV, used my phone, and did everything as normal. As the day progressed, my eyes began to get a bit more dry and scratchy, excepted yet still uncomfortable and worth noting.
There will be a follow-up article to this in which I document my healing experience over the subsequent three months, so stay tuned for that!