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Intermittent Fasting and PRK (Lasik) Surgery Recovery

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 13, 2011 at 5:29 PM

I'm 23 years old, male, and I'm getting PRK laser eye surgery this Friday. I'm not sure that it matters so much with a such a small organ like the eye but I plan on suspending my regular Crossfit workouts/running and supplementing with ~2000mg Vit C in addition to the ~10000 iu Vit D a day I already supplement. I have been following an intermittent fasting protocol by skipping breakfast to which I've adapted very well.

I've noticed from doing crossfit that following IF actually helps me recover better (need less rest between workouts) and I have tons more energy. Do you think it would work the same way with a surgery? My thought is that since the body isn't using resources on digestion, it would use the increased bloodflow to stimulate the repair process. It makes sense to me given that often when people get very sick, they lose hunger and fast naturally as their bodies are completely focused on fighting the disease.

354deb077c626b84c67c2dc1841c9b71

(253)

on December 14, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Thanks for all the good info. I am definitely getting PRK and it's good to know exactly what each of the drops are for. I was considering going without the NSAID/Steroid etc since I think when the body heals naturally it heals better but for this I'll follow the prescription. I'm pretty sure the follow up will be Saturday, the place I'm going to is a hospital so it will be open.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on December 14, 2011
at 01:49 AM

Agreed. Ask the doctor doing the surgery specifically about the type of exercises done in Crossfit - it's very possible that bending, heavy lifting, and the like will be off the table for a few weeks so as not to put pressure on the healing areas.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 13, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Yep, agree with Marie here! Take all those drops, antibiotics, steroids, etc. at the correct times. Infections = bad bad bad,

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4 Answers

3
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on December 13, 2011
at 07:30 PM

Definitely cut the exercise out until you're healed - run this past your doctor for sure, but I'm pretty sure when I had my eyes sliced a few years back, I was prohibited from doing any exercise for some amount of time. I don't recall what that amount was, but I followed that recommendation.

Regarding IF affecting recovery from surgery? No opinion on that. I'm torn between thinking your body should have all that it needs and then some, vs. autophagy arguments.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on December 14, 2011
at 01:49 AM

Agreed. Ask the doctor doing the surgery specifically about the type of exercises done in Crossfit - it's very possible that bending, heavy lifting, and the like will be off the table for a few weeks so as not to put pressure on the healing areas.

2
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 13, 2011
at 11:33 PM

You having both eyes done or one? I had both eyes done for PRK, one with astigmatism, one without. The astigmatism eye took longer to recover, and it's still not where I want it (there's more zapping to counteract the astigmatism)

Either way, you won't be exercising hard for at least a week, probably 2. It takes around 7-14 days for the epithelial layer to regenerate (for me, it was on the longer end, and I seem to heal faster under paleo as well). Eyes are slower to heal because of reduced bloodflow to the eye. You definitely do not want ANY sweat in your eyes while it heals. :)

LASIK's faster in that respect than PRK, but the whole flap and weakness for life thing gives me the heebie jeebies.

I didn't do IF, so can't comment on that.

Adding on to what Marie said. The doctor probably already told you, but you'll probably have 3 prescriptions. Antibiotic, steroid, and painkiller (codeine). You should already have them now (the sterioid was never in stock at my pharmacy, so they had to order in).

Antibiotic = critical. They take off the outer layer of skin on your cornea. This is a line of defense protecting your eyes from infection. Even with a good immune system, Vit D, etc. Don't forget to take the antibiotic! Take no chances whatsoever on this. Use a clock/timer/reminder for the drops.

Steroid = critical. This is what helps regenerate the outer layer of skin faster. Something logical they don't always mention. This also can help other living things grow faster as well. Thus the antibiotic is even more important in that first few days.

Codeine = depends on your pain threshold. I didn't need it at all. Everyone else that's done it around me were gulping it down like mad. Like any pain pill, it works best when the pain is starting vs. when it is fully in swing.

Eye drops (systane/refresh). Use them frequently. Get the small vials vs the big bottles. The vials have no preservative, the bottles do. You want to avoid that while the epithelial layer is healing. Dry eyes=eyes that aren't healing as fast + pain.

Omega-3's are supposed to help with dry eye as well. I stepped up the fish oil a bit.

It's a bit odd that you're having the surgery on Friday. Are you having the post op check on Saturday or Monday? Mine wouldn't do the surgery without a scheduled check the next day (and didn't do LASIK/PRK on Fridays). Might be just him, but some of the negative stuff hits so fast with all the drugs, that he wanted to ensure nothing bad started off.

Finally, check out your eyes before and after the surgery. Maybe take some pictures. Your vision will be at least decent right after the surgery, will deteriorate a lot over the next week, then get better over the next 3 months+. But what you'll want to do monitor things. ANY funkiness or unexpectedness with the eyes (sudden white spots, unexpected pain) get an appointment to get checked out immediately.

354deb077c626b84c67c2dc1841c9b71

(253)

on December 14, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Thanks for all the good info. I am definitely getting PRK and it's good to know exactly what each of the drops are for. I was considering going without the NSAID/Steroid etc since I think when the body heals naturally it heals better but for this I'll follow the prescription. I'm pretty sure the follow up will be Saturday, the place I'm going to is a hospital so it will be open.

2
Medium avatar

(4878)

on December 13, 2011
at 08:25 PM

The eye drops are more important!!! You don't want scarring, so get a wrist watch and be religious about sticking to the 30 minute intervals.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on December 13, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Yep, agree with Marie here! Take all those drops, antibiotics, steroids, etc. at the correct times. Infections = bad bad bad,

0
0680608dec7323088d2c4700df1837d2

on September 18, 2013
at 10:56 AM

I had PRK done on both eyes on Friday (it's now Wednesday). I was pretty anxious about the recovery, as a (non-Paleo and not particularly healthy) friend had just had the same procedure and seemed to be suffering a fair bit with pain and a possible infection. I think I've recovered very well in comparison, so thought I'd share what I did to help others.

Note that I had the type of surgery where they remove the epithelial layer, rather than cut a flap, and it seems to take a bit more time to heal as this layer has to grow back.

About me: 32 year old female living in Sydney, Australia. Paleo since about March 2013 (so only about 6 months), max 64 kg (49kg muscle, 21% body fat at last scan), weakness for the occasional piece of cake or gelato, and am pretty fit (I completed a 100km endurance walk a couple of weeks prior to the surgery).

In terms of exercise, I walk a few km every day getting to and from work, and I lifted weights on the Monday to Wednesday. I had Thursday off from lifting as I wanted to ensure my body was well rested, and I had to get things ready to have a low irritant environment for after the surgery (clean sheets on bed, vacuuming, cat fur removal). Exercise was out of the question for Friday through Monday (combined effects of Valium, pain meds, not being able to see etc). Today and yesterday I got out and did some gentle walking including some hills. To be honest, I don't want to go to the gym for a while as it doesn't strike me as a particularly clean environment and I don't want to pick up any germs that could infect my eyes. Plus, I wanted to get out in the fresh air, get some vitamin D and also to practice looking at things in the middle and far distance.

In terms of supplements (I take a few as advised by my functional health Dr to correct some deficiencies and a bit of adrenal fatigue):

  • I started taking Omega 3 supplements about a month out from surgery. I would take at least 4 a day. They contain 1 gram omega 3 tryglicerides (fish), equivalent EPA 300mg and DHA 200mg. Also contain 16.8mg equivalent vitamin E.

  • I upped my zinc and vitamin C supplement. I take a daily dose containing 1 gram of vitamin C and 62mg zinc (it contains a few other things too, notably 170mg betacarotene). I doubled the dose the day before surgery, the day of surgery, and for a couple of days after.
  • I made sure I took my daily magnesium supplement (244mg magnesium chelate) especially as it helps with recovery and muscle relaxation.
  • I started taking some supplements for my immune system, as a precaution against any colds or anything. I dosed up on a tablet containing andrographis (2.5g), echinacea (750mg) and olive leaf extract (750g), taking 4 a day from the Wednesday, and then reducing to 2 a day on Monday and Tuesday, then ceased.
  • I take 1mg vitamin B12 daily.
  • I take 50,000 IU of vitamin D fortnightly. I took one on the morning of the surgery (or day before - I've forgotten), despite it being an off-week.

I have done a bit of intermittent fasting but wouldn't do it in the lead up to this surgery. It makes me feel extremely sharp and energetic short term, but strung out and awful long term (per Stefani Ruper's excellent article on why IF might work a bit better for men than women, at least on a long term basis - especially given that I have had a bit of adrenal fatigue going on).

My approach with food was to (1) get as much nourishment into my body as possible to help heal and (2) to avoid any extra stress on the body (through not eating enough, or through eating irritating foods eg gluten, sugar etc).

I cooked a chicken in the slow cooker, and ordered a huge delivery of organic fruit and vegetables. My meals consisted mostly of salad (it's hot here right now!) with the roast chicken, but I also had some "taco salad" (with chili beef mince). Loads of leafy greens, capsicum, celery, tomato, red cabbage, cucumbers, fresh herbs, green onion (or spring onion or shallots or whatever you call the long thin ones where you come from!), olive oil, avocado, and I munched on a lot of carrots (because they help you see in the dark right!). Breakfast pretty much always consists of rocket/roquette leaves, bacon and soft fried eggs, so no changes there. Probably had a few mushrooms and tomatoes in there too.

Meanwhile I was taking Valium on Friday to Sunday, lots of eye drops (antibiotic, steroid and lubricating) and painkillers (digesic). I briefly felt nauseous on Friday evening, and took an anti-nausea tablet. The eye drops were applied religiously! Also they gave me some prednisone, which I've been on before and hate, so the doctor allowed me to take a reduced dose.

I had my post-op appointment on the Monday. A woman who had had her surgery on the same day as me was there. She had only just managed to open one of her eyes, and that was on the way to the appointment. As well as some major swelling, she had experienced some real pain - she described it like having glass in her eye.

Apart from the very brief nausea, I had a little pain on the Sunday morning which was probably due to my eyes drying out over night. By midday, it was back to a the regular feeling I will describe as "stingy discomfort". My eyes also watered a fair bit. They felt/feel a bit tired, like I've been crying a lot, actually. And no one told me how many tissues I would go through! I was extremely sensitive to light until Monday. On Tuesday I was able to use my phone and tablet again (hint: turn the brightness right down and the font right up before the surgery!). I had a fair bit of swelling but could always actually open my eyes. The swelling was noticeably better when I woke up on Monday morning.

So, six days after the surgery I am feeling almost 100% back to normal. My sight is still working itself out and a little blurry, my eyes get tired easily, and I'm still a little sensitive to very bright light. I'm not going back to my (staring at a computer screen) job until Monday. The biggest problem now is dealing with the boredom that comes with feeling fighting fit and full of paleo goodness, but also trying to avoid straining the eyes (hence writing this incredibly long but hopefully helpful to somebody account).

One final thing - and probably the most important - is having a great and devoted carer who is very good at bringing you food, dispensing tablets, and putting in eye drops!

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