Lasik Q & A

LASIK: Before-During and After Lasik Eye Surgery

LASIK eye surgery, otherwise known as Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a surgery, which changes the shape of the cornea in order to correct vision problems. LASIK eye surgery has been changing over the past ten years, and some potential patients are confused as to exactly what LASIK is. In order to clear up your LASIK concerns and questions, here are some important facts about what happens before, during, and after LASIK surgery.

Before you can undergo LASIK surgery, you must have your eyes evaluated. It is advised that you stop wearing contacts and switch to glasses before your first evaluation; contact lenses change the shape of your cornea and may interfere with an accurate evaluation. If you wear contact lenses you need to stop wearing them for at least 2 weeks, those wearing toric or gas permeable lenses need to stop wearing them for at least 3 weeks, and those wearing hard lenses need to stop wearing them for at least 4 weeks before the first evaluation.

During the evaluation, the doctor will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery; you will need to be honest about your medical history and any medications you are currently taking in addition to medications you are allergic to. The first evaluation should also be a time when you discuss the risks of the LASIK surgery and what you should expect. It is important to take some time to review everything you discussed with your doctor before you commit to a decision; LASIK is an elective surgical procedure, and the decision to undergo this type of procedure should never be made on an impulse.

Once you have decided to have the LASIK procedure performed, it is important to understand your responsibilities and what to expect. The day before the surgery is to take place you will need to stop using creams, lotions, makeup and perfumes; you will also need to arrange reliable transport to and from the surgery location for the surgery and for prearranged post-op visits. The LASIK surgery itself, depending on the type of LASIK you are having, is usually less than 30 minutes. You will be asked to lie in a reclining chair, and then numbing drops will be placed in your eyes.

After the drops are placed in your eyes the area around your eyes will be cleaned, and a lid speculum instrument will hold your eyelids open. Once your eyelids are held open, the first cut into the cornea will be made. During this procedure you will probably feel pressure and discomfort, but it will be mild; you vision will also dim and start to blur. You will then need to stare at a light while the cornea is reshaped; the light is used to keep your cornea in a fixed spot while the laser reshapes it.

After the surgery is over, a shield will be placed over your eyes to protect them and let them heal. Most patients experience watery eyes, burning and itching sensations, and mild pain. Vision immediately following LASIK is often hazy and blurry. The symptoms will gradually disappear, usually within a week, and you will need to see your doctor for regular appointments for the first 6 months following the surgery; expect to see the doctor again in the first 24 – 48 hours after your surgery as well. Patients with especially irritated eyes will be given eye drops. Vision will usually stabilize in 3 – 6 months following the surgery.

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