Deciding to undergo LASIK surgery is a life-changing decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’ve decided to undergo LASIK eye surgery to improve your vision, you’re probably looking forward to giving your glasses or contacts a break.
Curiosity and anxiety are normal reactions to the approach of a LASIK procedure. You can prepare for your surgery by learning what to expect on the days leading up to the procedure, as well as the day of the surgery.
Before Your Lasik Surgery
Some contact lenses may alter the shape of your cornea for several weeks after you’ve stopped wearing them. Most ophthalmologists recommend that you stop wearing your contact lenses before your pre-operative baseline examination as well as before the day of the procedure.
It is generally recommended that soft disposable contacts should not be worn one week before a pre-operative baseline examination, while soft extended-wear contacts should not be worn for two weeks prior to the examination. On the other hand, gas permeable lenses should not be worn for four weeks. After the examination, your ophthalmologist will give you specific instructions on how long to discontinue your contact lens wear.
Pre-operative treatment will depend on the results of your pre-operative examination. Dry eye treatments, topical or oral medications may be prescribed to prepare you for LASIK.
During Your Lasik Surgery
On the day of your procedure, numbing eye drops will be applied to your eyes to make surgery comfortable and help you resist the urge to blink. Your eyelids will be kept open by a small device called a speculum. This device may cause mild pressure around your eyelids but does not cause pain.
Your ophthalmologist will patch one eye while the other is worked on. Your eye movement will be monitored with microscopes that help your ophthalmologist determine if the treated eye is in the right position. Once that has been determined, you’ll be asked to look at a coloured target light which helps maintain the direction of your gaze during the procedure. As you focus on the light, programmed laser sequences will be used to reshape your cornea. You may experience blurred vision while under the laser, but this is temporary.
After Your Lasik Surgery
Recovery is quick and requires no stitches. Your vision will be blurry for a few hours after the procedure. It is also normal to experience temporary stinging, itchiness and sensitivity to light. You will be required to close your eyes to rest for a short period after the surgery to allow for recovery. It is crucial to avoid irritation of your cornea during the early recovery period, which is why an eye shield or protective goggles will be given to you before you are discharged.
While it is uncommon to feel any pain after the procedure, your ophthalmologist might prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription painkiller to provide relief. On the first night of your recovery, it is recommended that you sleep on your back while wearing an eye shield or protective goggles. Follow any instructions your doctor gives you to facilitate a smooth healing process. While some people only worry about the LASIK eye surgery costs, there’s a lot more to consider. Be sure to raise any concerns you have with your doctor before the procedure.
About Dr. Sachin Bawa
Sachin Bawa is a founder of Dr. Sachin Bawa Cataract and Vision Clinic. He is a qualified ophthalmic surgeon for more than 9 years. He holds a medical degree from the University of Witswatersrand which he completed in 2004.