LASIK Surgery – What to Expect Before, During & After

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Discover the Freedom of LASIK

By Guest Author, Joel Hunter, MD

You’ve finally decided to remedy your vision problem through LASIK surgery. You’ve found a reputable LASIK surgeon, and after a thorough testing and consultation phase, you are deemed to be an ideal candidate for the procedure.

Now, what?

After the actual day of your surgery has been set, the next thing that you need to do is to prepare. Listed here are the things that you can expect before, during, and after the procedure as well as the preparation you need to make.

The day before surgery

On the day before surgery, it is best to stop using lotions, creams, perfume, and makeup or cosmetics.

Using these products a day before and on the day of your LASIK surgery can leave you vulnerable to inflammation. It isn’t critical, though recommended, to stop using these products the day before the procedure, however, on the day of the procedure it is mandatory.  

Finally, arrange for someone — a friend or a family member — to accompany you to and from the doctor’s clinic. In some cases, doctors prescribe medicines to their patients before surgery. These medicines may cause blurry eyes as well as impair a person’s ability to drive.

On the day of the surgery

The actual surgery usually takes about 15 minutes to finish. Throughout the procedure, you will be lying on your back on in the laser suite. This room houses the laser system, which will be used for the procedure.

The procedure starts with the application of a numbing drop on the eyes. After that, the area surrounding your eyes will be cleaned. To hold your eyelids open, the surgeon will use a lid speculum.

The refractive surgeon will use a device known as a femtosecond laser to create a flap in the cornea. An interface will be used to focus the laser on the corneal tissue. This interface helps create a flap by creating and expanding gas and water bubbles. Once the tissues in the cornea expand, they connect to nearby tissues and create a flap. Afterward, the interface is removed.

Your surgeon will then lift the flap to expose the tissue beneath the flap. After that, the laser will be positioned over the eye. You will then be asked to concentrate your gaze on a light.

Once the laser has been positioned over your eye, your doctor will begin the treatment. The laser is controlled by a computer configured before the surgery. At this point, you may smell something similar to burning hair. After vaporizing the corneal tissue, the flap is restored to its original position.

You will be given sunglasses that will serve as protection for your eyes against rubbing, pressure or any other actions which may hurt your eyes while they are healing.

After surgery

It is rare but possible to feel some pain and discomfort after surgery. Apart from that, you may feel an itching or burning sensation in your eyes. Your vision, too, will become blurry. After a few days, these symptoms should diminish. Your doctor will prescribe preservative-free tears to help you heal.

Under no circumstance should you rub your eyes at this stage.

The day after the procedure, you will need to visit your doctor. During this visit, your doctor will examine your eye and vision.

After the initial post-operative checkup, you will need to visit your doctor for a one month check up.

For the first week, you will be advised against playing contact sports. For the first week, you may not apply cosmetics in the eye area, and you must avoid swimming or using a hot tub for two weeks.

You may experience fluctuations in your vision during the first few months after your surgery. Your vision will likely be excellent the first week after surgery but will continue to improve for up to six months.

Should you experience anything unusual or if you feel that your symptoms have worsened, contact your surgeon immediately.

Joel Hunter, MD

Joel Hunter, MD is an Ophthalmologist, Refractive Surgeon, and the Founder of Hunter Vision in Orlando, Florida. A recognized and respected specialist in vision correction who has performed thousands of refractive surgeries, Joel gives lectures across the country and trains fellow doctors in the newest LASIK surgery techniques.