Before the Procedure
The start of any LASIK preparatory process is a dilated eye exam, as a way to check the health of your eyes and be sure you are a candidate for safe and effective LASIK surgery. During the exam, your surgeon will take into account the shape and measurement of the cornea, the size of your pupils, any refractive errors, risk factors (such as risk of dry eyes) and a get a general understanding of your health to be sure you’re a candidate for LASIK before you begin. If you do have any risk factors to consider, your surgeon will work with you develop a treatment plan that can address and reduce your risks.
Some candidates choose custom LASIK, starting with Wavefront analysis, which is a 3D image of your eye. It gives a much more detailed picture of every nuance of your eye, allowing the surgeon to apply the most precise customized technique to perfect your vision.
**Be aware, you’ll likely be asked to stop wearing contact lenses around 1-4 weeks before the procedure, as contacts can change the shape of your eye. Your surgeon will let you know the specific timeframe you’ll need to follow.
The Day of the Procedure
When you arrive for surgery, the first thing your surgeon will do is apply numbing eye drops to anaesthetize your eyes, and most surgeons also prescribe medication to assist with relaxation or to alleviate anxiety. After that has had time to set in, your eyes will be aligned with the laser, and held open with a lid speculum to keep you from blinking during the procedure. Next, a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser creates a thin flap in the cornea right along the surface. The surgeon follows with the excimer laser to shape your eye with precision. The laser itself it not hot or cauterizing, in fact, it’s just cool ultraviolet light.
What this actually does is allows the right amount of light to enter the eye, which refocuses your vision to make it crystal clear. You don’t feel pain during the procedure, but you might feel some pressure, which can be uncomfortable for some people. It is over very quickly, repeated on the second eye, and then you’re ready to recover and go home.
The risks involved in LASIK are few and small, but like any procedure, they do exist. The majority of risks and complications that do arise are generally not complications that will disable your vision. Additionally, there are follow-up treatments that most patients with complications can receive to help correct and address any complications from the surgery. Any significant damage or vision loss is incredibly rare.
Some of the most common risks include:
- over/under correction
- complications with flap and cornea
- glare/halo in vision
- dry eyes
- post-LASIK DLK
After the Procedure
Once the surgery is completed, the process isn’t quite finished. You’ll need to be sure somebody can drive you home, because you’re likely to experience irritated, itching, (feels a bit like a stuck eyelash), blurry or foggy eyes for up to 12 hours following the surgery.
You should be able to drive the next day.
Your doctor will want at least three follow-up exams to be sure all is healing well, starting with the first visit 1-2 days after your surgery, and the next two being in about 1-3 months.
Your doctor will discuss care with you prior to your surgery, and adhering to that care for the designated time frame ensures optimal healing and results. Some of the after-care instructions will likely include:
- restrictions or limits on exercise, swimming, facial products, eye makeup, contact sports, or hot tubs
- frequent use of lubricating eye drops provided
- follow-up appointment timeline
- guidelines on when to call/see your doctor for discomfort or complications