Laser Eye Surgery Step-by-Step Guide to the Lasik Procedure

LASIK Surgeon Performing Capt. Joseph Pasternak, an ophthalmology surgeon at National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, lines up the laser on Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lawrence Ryder's eye before beginning LASIK VISX surgery.  BETHESDA, Md. (May 1, 2007) -
LASIK Surgeon Performing Capt. Joseph Pasternak, an ophthalmology surgeon at National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, lines up the laser on Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lawrence Ryder's eye before beginning LASIK VISX surgery. BETHESDA, Md. (May 1, 2007) - | Source

You have made your decision! You have chosen your surgeon, asked all the right questions and you are now ready to step into your future. After careful consideration, you decide to go ahead with Laser Eye Surgery, Your friends and family are rooting for you and you have already chosen your new designer sunglasses.

10-15 Days Before Laser Eye Surgery

You will be given a check list of things to do before your actual surgery:

  • Stop wearing your contact lenses 2 weeks before surgery for hard lenses and 7 days for soft lenses. This allows your cornea to return to its natural shape by the day of surgery.
  • Stop using creams, lotions and makeup for a few days before surgery. This is especially important regarding mascara and eye liner. Gently remove all mascara before your surgery. You do not want any possibility of infection to come from left over mascara around your eyes.
  • You will also be asked not to wear perfume or body spray before surgery. Deodorant is alright.
  • Wear comfortable clothing for your surgery. This helps you to relax.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor before surgery and after. You will have already told the doctor if you have any allergies, and all this will have been taken into consideration by the doctor before your decision to have the procedure.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgery and to and from your next day check-up. It is required that you have someone accompany you whether your vision is blurry or not.


Not Hard to Watch-This is a normal eye - A complete LASIK procedure, performed by G. Kymionis MD at the Institute of Vision and Optics of the University of Crete / Greece
Not Hard to Watch-This is a normal eye - A complete LASIK procedure, performed by G. Kymionis MD at the Institute of Vision and Optics of the University of Crete / Greece | Source
Excellent websites to check before making your decision about Laser Eye Surgery
Excellent websites to check before making your decision about Laser Eye Surgery

During Your (Painless) Laser Eye Surgery - Watch the Video

You do not have to be overly nervous. Yes, having laser eye surgery is a big decision. And it is controlled by the medical profession to make it as safe as possible. You will have chosen a respected, fully-qualified surgeon, who operates with the most up-to-date equipment in an exceptionally clean surgery. You can expect to be in good hands.

  • You will go in to the surgery area and have a brief talk with the surgeon you have spoken with all along. You will meet the assistant.
  • You will be given an anesthetic in the form of an eye drop to numb the surface of the eye. You will be awake during the entire procedure. You may even be given a copy of the tape made by the doctor during your operation. You should ask.
  • After moisturizing your eye the surgical team will place an instrument called a speculum around your eye to hold your eyelid open during the procedure. This may feel odd but does not hurt and the ‘oddness’ is soon forgotten.
  • The surgeon will use another piece of equipment called a microkeratome to cut a flap in the cornea. You may experience some discomfort here due to the ring that is placed around your eye and the high pressure it creates on the cornea. Again, do not be alarmed, although it gives a strange feeling, it is simply part of the procedure to ensure the best possible results.
  • If the surgeon uses a laser keratome instead of a microkeratome, it is a clear plastic plate that flattens the cornea then laser energy is focused inside the cornea to create a flap on the top of the cornea. This part of the procedure will have its own strange feeling but, again, do not be concerned because it feels uncomfortable.
  • Once a flap is cut in the cornea the flap is lifted and folded back on its hinge. The exposed tissue is dried as the procedure continues.
  • During this time you will have blurred vision. This is natural.
  • You will then be asked to stare at a bright light while the surgeon starts the laser.
  • The laser will have been programmed for your specific surgery. The programming is based on your initial eye examination. The laser then removes (by vaporizing) an exact amount of cornea tissue to improve your vision. While this is going on you will hear the sounds of the laser and maybe catch a scent that some have said smells like burning hair.
  • Following the work of the laser the surgeon replaces the flap to its original position. This flap adheres naturally. There are no stitches but an eye protector will be placed over your eye while the same procedure is used on the other eye.


The Recovery Room

The recovery room is quite a pleasant place to relax after your surgery. The lights are dim and it’s quiet and peaceful. Your surgeon will see you after you have had a chance to settle and relax. He will check your eyes very carefully and let you know how everything went. You can expect that your surgery went well. It is unusual (but certainly not unheard of) for a problem to have occurred during the procedure itself.

Ugly Sunglasses -  Protection from the Sun Following Laser Eye Surgery.  Get your own designer sunglasses in a few days!
Ugly Sunglasses - Protection from the Sun Following Laser Eye Surgery. Get your own designer sunglasses in a few days!

Following the Laser Eye Surgery

You can expect your eyes to be blurry for the first 24 hours. They should have cleared considerably by your 24-hour visit with your surgeon.

You may also experience some burning but this should clear up quickly. Do not rub your eyes. Your doctor can prescribed medication to help with this discomfort.

Your doctor will prescribe any medications he believes you should take and will confirm your appointment with him the next day.

You will likely be given a pair of sunglasses (huge, ugly, granny sunglasses) to wear home and while you are outside. You will likely be given clear plastic eye covers to wear at night while sleeping.

You will also likely be given what are called “artificial tears” and told how and when to apply the drops. This helps to avoid dry eyes.

And finally, you will be advised to avoid any strenuous exercise, swimming, hot tubs, and whirlpools for the next two weeks. You may be advised to avoid washing your hair or having a shower (where water can wash across your face) for the next 24 hours. You will also be advised to avoid make up and especially eye make up at least for 24 hours. And you may be advised to avoid bending down. All these precautions are meant to avoid pressure and/or infection to the eyes.

Go home, relax, sleep is good, and do not worry. But if you do have any unexpected side-effects or you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact your doctor immediately. He will either be able to reassure you or advise you to come and see him right away.

Remember, it is important to keep every single one of your post-operative eye appointments no matter how good you feel or how well you see.


Enjoy your experience of new vision without contacts or glasses

This article is meant to inform readers about the experience of having laser eye surgery. It is not meant to be an exact explanation of the entire laser eye surgery procedure; it is a story. It is not meant to take the place of medical advice. Always seek advice from your personal medical practitioner and other certified medical experts. E.&O.E.


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Comments 15 comments

apurva joshi profile image

apurva joshi 5 years ago from INDIA

quite informative... thanks for sharing:)


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

as much as I would love to have this done...I don't think I could go through with it....for some reason, I cannot stand my eyes to be messed with...let alone the thought of being awake .... makes me squimish.

I appreciate this hub though,

Thanks...


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

There really is no pain. It can feel uncomfortable with the equipment holding open your eye. The biggest problem is the fear of anything coming that close to your eye. It freaks people out! I have actually done a small part of the surgery on pigs eyes (it was a pig that was killed for food purposes and then donated to science for just this purpose). It allows surgeons to practise techniques without hurting anyone or any thing.

Thanks for your comments adeaugustus!


MYWIKISTEP 4 years ago

Very helpful - at all stages for anyone thinking of this kind of surgery.

Good Hub!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Thank you for your comments, Mywikistep. If you are thinking of having laser eye surgery, take your time to research and think about whether this wonderful surgery is right for you.


dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 4 years ago from India

Really a useful guide for those who are preparing for laser eye surgery. The side effects of surgery are said to be mild. You can do more research into laser eye surgery clinics and what i heard is majority of surgeries have a positive outcome. Thanks for sharing this useful hub. Rated as useful.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

dinkan53

Laser eye surgery can be one of the most liberating surgeries a person can have. Yes, most Lasik surgeries are safe and the outcomes are excellent. The key is to choose a reputable clinic and ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), not to choose the lowest price. If laser eye surgery is not for you your eye doctor will tell you up front.

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate your reading my hub!


Rob Winters profile image

Rob Winters 4 years ago

Very Informative. This hub would be exactly what someone considering eye surgery would hope to find if searching for info on this subject. It's written in an easily digestable manner that i know i would find both useful and comforting were i ever to be considering this. Up & Useful (Very)


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Rob, those are very meaningful comments. I appreciate your feedback. Given the nature of the article (surgery) I had hoped to be helpful to those considering this procedure. Thanks for letting me know my article works.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Very interesting. Good information to have, and I thank you for writing about it. I'm sure this hub will be helpful to lots of people. Voted up, useful, and awesome!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 3 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

Hi Au fait. Thanks for your very kind comments. Choose where you have your surgery done by choosing the doctor. Then do some research. It's a good surgery - it really is painless. It is harder to watch the video than to have it done.


Manu 3 years ago

Is Anesthesia used for LASIK surgery surgery


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 2 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

No, anesthesia is not used in LASIK surgery. It's not needed. It's similar to cataract surgery. If you are interested in the surgery, speak with a reputable clinic and see one of their doctors. Thanks for your question, Manu.


Nyanna 23 months ago

Going to put this artlice to good use now.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 22 months ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico Author

If you are considering Laser Eye Surgery, go to a reputable clinic, get your eyes tested to see if you are a candidate, and ask lots of questions. Research the clinic and the doctor. If you see many complaints, stay away. Remember, the lowest price is not necessarily the best clinic. Shop smart.

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