LASIK: What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?
LASIK surgery is a popular laser surgery that corrects your vision by changing the shape of your cornea. After a lifetime of wearing glasses or contacts, correcting your vision with LASIK can be an extremely freeing experience. Like with all surgeries, though, it’s important to be well-informed of the procedure and recovery in order to best prepare yourself. Knowing what to expect before, during, and after LASIK surgery will put your mind at ease and help you achieve a swift recovery.
Before you can schedule your LASIK surgery, your ophthalmologist must evaluate whether you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure. If you wear contacts, you should switch to glasses full-time a few weeks before this appointment as contacts can change the shape of your cornea. During your evaluation, you and your doctor will discuss your medical history and eye conditions, and you’ll have an opportunity to ask your questions about the surgery. During this appointment the shape, contour, thickness, and any irregularities of the cornea will measured and recorded.
Your ophthalmologist will share specific instructions with you detailing how to prepare before and on the day of the surgery. At least one day before the surgery, you should stop using makeup, lotions, and other products around your face and eyes, as well as continue to wear glasses instead of contact lenses. You should also arrange for transportation home after the procedure. Your ophthalmologist may give you medication to help you relax, which will impair your driving.
LASIK surgery only lasts about 30 minutes. You will sit back in a reclined chair and your doctor will place numbing drops in your eyes, and they may also administer medication to help you relax. However, you will be awake during the procedure.
Your ophthalmologist will use a lid speculum to hold open your eyelids before a suction ring is placed on the eye to elevate the internal eye pressure. Then, a small flap is cut and folded back to reveal the part of the cornea that needs reshaping. A laser programmed with specific measurements taken during your previous appointment reshapes the cornea by removing some of the tissue. During the procedure, you’ll be asked to stare at a point of light, which will keep your eye fixed in one place.
Once finished, the corneal flap is folded back over the eye, and will heal on its own without stitches. You may feel some pressure or discomfort during the procedure, but you should not feel pain.
After LASIK surgery, you may feel some itching, burning, and mild pain or irritation. Most patients find that the discomfort is easily manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. You will likely be sent home with a shield over your eyes, and should keep it on until advised otherwise by your doctor. Your vision will probably be blurry after the procedure and you might be tempted to rub your eyes, but you should resist this urge. Sensitivity to light is also common for the first few days after LASIK.
You should plan to take a few days off work following your surgery. Your ophthalmologist will likely schedule a follow-up appointment one or two days after the procedure, and you’ll continue to see them regularly for the next six months to one year. It can take three to six months for your vision to normalize, so don’t panic if your vision is blurry after your LASIK surgery.
LASIK surgery is a fairly quick and straightforward procedure, but you still must take the preparation and recovery seriously. Follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions closely, and don’t hesitate to contact them with any questions or concerns.
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Eye Care Physicians & Surgeons of New Jersey provides LASIK surgery for patients who want to achieve great vision and improve their quality of life. If you’re interested in LASIK, you can contact us today by filling out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.