If you’re fed up with having to wear glasses and/or contact lenses, then you may be curious about the ins and outs of laser eye surgery.
In this article, I’m going to take you step-by-step through the laser eye surgery process, and throw in one or two tips along the way.
So, let’s dive in…
Preparing for Laser Eye Surgery
Preparing for eye surgery is similar to preparing for any surgery, but there’s a few eye-specific things that should be done in order to get the best results.
How You Can Prepare:
- Make sure you have a lift home – providing there are no complications, you’ll be able to go home the day of your surgery, but you won’t be able to drive.
- Have somebody to help you – your doctor may warn you against strenuous activities or even cooking and cleaning, so it’s best to have somebody to give you a helping hand when necessary.
- Avoid any makeup or products around the eye – you’ll have to remove it there anyway, but it’s best to steer clear from any eye makeup products for a couple of days before the surgery, to minimize the chances of infection.
- Stop wearing contact lenses and stick to your glasses – contact lenses can change the shape of your cornea, so your doctor will request you avoid wearing your lenses for around 4 weeks prior to the surgery.
Your eye doctor will check your eyes out before any surgery begins, looking for signs of an eye infection, inflammation, large pupils and dry eyes.
Usually, eye doctors use wavefront-guided technology to fully evaluate your eye to get all the necessary measurements.
You’ll be informed of any risks and complications that may occur during and following the surgery. Some of these risks include:
- Dry eyes
- Double vision
- Difficulty seeing at night time
- Vision loss
- Flap problems (infection or excess tears)
- Undercorrections or overcorrections (removing too much or too little tissue)
Be sure to use the evaluation as an opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding the procedure.
The surgery should take no more than 30 minutes providing there are no complications. Here’s a step by step list of what will happen during the surgery:
- You’ll lie on a reclined chair and your doctor will put some numbing drops into your eye.
- A lid speculum will hold your eyelids open while your doctor creates a small flap into your cornea, usually with a laser.
- You’ll most likely be asked to focus on a certain area, usually a light. This will help keep your eye fixed and keep you distracted.
- The doctor will then fold the flap back, and dry the exposed tissue.
- Using a laser that’s been programmed, your surgeon will reshape the relevant parts of your cornea, while removing as much tissue as needed. You should still be able to see, but your vision is likely to be blurred at this point.
- The cornea flap will be put back into position, and a shield will be placed over your eye at the end of the surgery. Be sure to keep the shield in place until your doctor tells you otherwise.
After the surgery, your eyes are likely to bur, itch, or feel sore – don’t be alarmed, it’s a completely normal part of the healing process.
However, if the following symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, then arrange to see your doctor:
- Pain that won’t go away
- Bloodshot eyes
- Extreme blurred vision
- Visual disturbances
- Any other new or unusual symptoms
Your doctor should contact you in the week following the surgery to test your vision and examine your eye, and check for any potential complications.
Your eye doctor may advise you to steer clear of any eye makeup or creams for the next couple of weeks after the surgery.
Also, make note that you should avoid swimming pools and hot tubs for around a month or two, as these can increase the chance of infection.
Your vision should stabilize any time from 3-6 months after the laser eye surgery, but you may notice improvements as soon as the first week.