What to Expect with LASIK?

Posted on January 25, 2018

Congratulations! You have decided to get rid of your spectacles or contact lenses, and are ready to commit to a brand new life, independent of the glasses. You will, after the surgery is over, invariably ask yourself why you waited for so long. But now that you have decided to seek better vision without glasses, here is what to expect.

The initial consult:

Once you decide to go ahead with surgery for vision correction, you will need to find for yourself a reliable eye hospital with an experienced and skilled refractive surgeon. He or she will then perform an initial or baseline evaluation to determine if you are eligible for LASIK.

Before you go for the initial consult, you will be asked to discontinue wearing your contact lenses:

  • In case of soft contact lenses: Avoid wearing for at least 2 weeks before initial check-up.
  • In case of toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses: Avoid wearing for at least 3 weeks before initial check-up.
  • In case of hard lenses: Avoid wearing for at least 4 weeks before your initial evaluation.

You must carry with you the following records:

  • Records of your past and present systemic and eye health, including drug history
  • Records and prescriptions of previous glasses/ contact lenses.
  • Any medications you are using, and names of any drugs you are allergic to.

Your doctor will then perform a comprehensive eye exam and some tests to determine your eligibility for LASIK. This will involve a dilated eye evaluation, which means that you must not drive to the clinic as your vision will be blurred for up to three hours after the tests.

After the tests, your eye surgeon will discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery and help you schedule the surgery.

Preparing for the surgery

Make sure you get your eyebrows shaped, and your facial done at least three to four days before the surgery, if you are used to these beauty procedures. This is because you will not be able to get them done for at least three to four weeks after the procedure.

You must also ensure that you can be accompanied to and from the hospital on the day of surgery, and also for your first follow up visit.

You must not use any creams or lotions or make up on your face starting from the day before surgery. You must use the eye drops and lid scrubs, if prescribed by your doctor, meticulously.

Before the surgery

You will be asked to sign a set of consent forms, and explained the procedure once again. After which you will be asked to change into special hospital clothes. The OT technicians or nursing staff will also instill some eye drops and prepare you for the surgery.

During Surgery

The surgery usually does not take more than 30 minutes. You will be asked to lie down flat on your back, and to look at a light which will be focused on your eye.

An anesthetic drop will then be placed in your eye, which may sting for about ten seconds, and then the area around your eye will be cleaned. Your eyes will be held open gently with a lid speculum.

A ring will then be placed on your eye, and you will feel a pressure on your eye. This pressure has been called a discomfort by some patients, and is transient. Your vision will become blurred during this procedure, but you will feel no pain. You doctor will then cut and lift the corneal flap, and dry the exposed corneal bed.

The laser will then be positioned over your eye, and once again you will be asked to fix your gaze at the bright light. The doctor and the assistant will verify some data points and then you will hear a clicking sound that signifies that laser ablation has begun. You may also experience a smell akin to burning hair. After this, the doctor will put the flap back into position.

A shield will then be placed over your eye, after your doctor instills some antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. You will be asked to wear this shield to protect your eye from injury until the flap has healed

After Surgery

Immediately after the surgery, you may experience some discomfort and watering and your doctor may suggest some medication for the same. Your doctor will see you once about an hour or so after the surgery, and you will realize that your vision is blurred, and your eye red. These symptoms will improve within the first few days of surgery. Usually your doctor will advise you to take two to three days off from work to allow complete healing.
The list of do’s and don’t’s varies from doctor to doctor, but here are a few general tips:

  • No eye makeup: Up to 2 weeks after surgery
  • No beauty regimens like threading and facial: Up to 4 weeks after surgery
  • No contact sports: Up to 1 week after surgery
  • No swimming: Up to 8 weeks after surgery
  • Eye shield at night: up to 4 weeks after surgery

Apart from this, your doctor will prescribe eye drops that you must use as prescribed. Your vision may fluctuate during the first few weeks of surgery, and can take up to three months to stabilize. The typical follow up regimen following uneventful LASIK is as follows, and again varies as per surgeon preference.

  • First follow up: Day 1 after surgery
  • Second follow up: Day 7 after surgery
  • Third follow up: 4 weeks after surgery
  • Optional visit: 12 weeks after surgery
  • Annual follow up thereafter

LASIK surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgeries for vision correction. Given that the surgery itself is of a very short duration, with a very rapid visual rehabilitation in the post-operative period, almost all patients are happy with the results of the surgery. Your doctor will take care of almost everything for you during LASIK, it is up to you to ensure perfect vision after surgery by following his or her instructions meticulously.

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