You’ve made the decision to undergo LASIK laser eye surgery, and you are in good company. To date, more than 40 million LASIK procedures have been performed worldwide, making it the most popular elective surgical eye procedure in humans in the world. LASIK makes it possible for those patients that choose it to experience clear, concise vision with little or no need for prescription vision aids such as glasses or contact lenses.
By now, you will know the way that LASIK works, but let’s recap that information right here. LASIK laser eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea, which is the clear, domed lens at the very front of the eye. The cornea is responsible for refracting the light that enters the eye so that it accurately hits the light-sensitive cells, called the retina, which is located at the back of the eye. When this happens, the retina interprets the light and sends a signal to the brain via the optic nerve, telling us what we can see. When the light isn’t refracted by the cornea correctly, it doesn’t reach the retina properly and the message sent to the brain isn’t quite right, causing our vision to appear blurred. LASIK uses precise laser technology to reshape the cornea into the shape needed to refract light correctly. As a result, patients can enjoy naturally clearer vision. Although there is no guarantee that you won’t need to use any visual aids, 99% of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision, and 90% achieve 20/20 vision or better.
Despite the tremendous success rate of LASIK, many people still feel some anxiety or trepidation about what will actually happen when they undergo the surgery. Preparation is key to feeling calm and reassured about any type of surgery, including LASIK. You will be given specific instructions on the best way to prepare for your appointment and to help you feel ready for your sight transformation, here’s what you need to know about what to expect on the actual day of your LASIK procedure.
You will not be able to drive yourself home after your LASIK procedure, so it is important that you don’t bring your own car unless you have someone who can drive you home in it. Otherwise, you may wish to get dropped off and arrange for someone to pick you up and take you home following your treatment. Once you have arrived, you will be checked in and if there is any outstanding paperwork, you will be asked to complete this before your procedure.
Before your LASIK procedure, you will be given anesthetic eye drops which will ensure that you don’t experience any discomfort while the surgery is being carried out. You may also be able to have oral relaxation medication if you are particularly nervous. This is something that is usually discussed with your LASIK provider at your consultation. Once your medications have taken effect, you will be able to undergo your LASIK procedure.
In most instances, you can expect to be in the laser suite for between 15 and 20 minutes. However, the actual procedure takes around just 5 minutes per eye. During this time, you will be asked to focus on a small light that will hold your attention while the laser is used to alter the shape of your cornea. Many patients are worried that any tiny movements could mess up their treatment, but this isn’t the case at all. The laser is pre-programmed to ensure that the alterations are carried out with the utmost precision and cutting-edge tracking technology means that if you move your eye in any way, the laser will halt until your eye is in the right position again. LASIK is extremely safe and successful.
After your LASIK procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area where you can relax, have a drink and rest your eyes. You’ll stay here for up to an hour before you can go home.
Another key concern of patients who are undergoing LASIK procedure is whether the procedure will hurt. As we know, you will be given anesthetic eye drops to ensure that you don’t experience any pain. You will feel a slight pressure on your eye as the lasers reshape the corneal tissue, but it shouldn’t hurt.
You will probably notice an improvement in your vision immediately, but it is normal for your sight to be blurred for a few hours while the anesthesia wears off and the eye rehydrates. It is important to avoid irritating or traumatizing your eye in any way during the first 24 hours after your LASIK and so you will be given protective eye shields to use to help keep them safe. Sleep on your back and wear your eye shield to give your eyes the best opportunity to heal. Rest your eyes as much as possible for the remainder of the day.
Your vision will continue to improve over the following week. You will be asked to return to your provider’s offices the day after your procedure, and they will check your vision and give you the all-clear to resume driving and other activities.
For more information about LASIK and what to expect from your LASIK procedure, please get in touch with our expert eye care team today.