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