What you should expect before, during, and after LASIK surgery
This section is a compilation of patient information developed by manufacturers and healthcare professionals, but it cannot replace the dialogue you should have with us. Read this information carefully and discuss your expectations with us.
You will need an initial or baseline evaluation to determine if you are a good candidate. This is what you need to know to prepare for the exam and what you should expect:
If you wear contact lenses, it is a good idea to stop wearing them before your baseline evaluation and switch to wearing your glasses full-time. You should stop wearing soft contact lenses about 2 weeks before your initial evaluation, you should wait about 3 week if you wear toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses. You should also stop wearing hard lenses about 4 weeks before your initial evaluation.
We will ask you about your past medical and eye conditions as well as any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and any medications you may be allergic to. We will perform a thorough eye exam and discuss whether you are a good candidate, what the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery are, what you should expect before, during and after surgery, and what your responsibilities will be before, during, and after the surgery. The day before surgery, you should stop using creams, lotions, makeup, and perfumes.
These products as well as debris along the eyelashes may increase the risk of infection during and after surgery. On the day of surgery, you may be given medicine to help you relax. Because this medicine impairs your ability to drive and because your vision may be blurry, make sure someone can bring you home after surgery.
The surgery should take less than 30 minutes. You will be positioned on
a bed in the operating suite containing the laser system. The laser system includes a
large machine with a microscope attached to it and a computer
A numbing drop will be placed in your eye, the area
around your eye will be cleaned, and an
instrument called a lid speculum will be use to hold your eyelids
open. A ring will be placed on your eye and very
high pressures will be applied to create suction to the cornea.
Your vision will dim while the suction ring is on and you may feel
the pressure and experience some discomfort during this
part of the procedure. The microkeratome, the instrument
which creates the flap in your cornea, is attached to the suction
The microkeratome and the suction ring are then
removed. You will be able to see, but you will
experience fluctuating degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the
procedure. We will then lift the flap & fold it back on its hinge, and
dry the exposed tissue.
The laser will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked
to stare at a light. This is not the laser used to remove tissue from
the cornea. This light is to help you keep your eye fixed on
one spot once the laser comes on.
When your eye is in the correct position,
we will start the laser. At this
point in the surgery, you may become aware of new sounds and smells. The
pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound. A computer controls the
amount of laser delivered to your eye. After the
pulses of laser energy vaporize the corneal tissue, the flap is
put back into position.
A shield will be placed over your eye at the end of
the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold
the flap in place. It is important for you to wear
this shield to prevent you from rubbing your eye and putting
pressure on your eye while you sleep, and to protect
your eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.
Immediately after the procedure, your eye may burn,
itch, or feel like there is something in it. You may experience
some discomfort, and you may be instructed to take a mild pain reliever.
Both of your eyes may tear or water. Your
vision may be temporarily hazy or blurry. You
will instinctively want to rub your eye, but don't!
Rubbing your eye could dislodge the flap, requiring
further treatment. In addition, you may experience a temporary
mild sensitivity to light.
These symptoms will improve considerably within the first few days after
At the first postoperative visit,
(typically the next day) the eye shield will be
removed , your vision tested, and your eyes examined. You may be
given one or more types of eye drops to take at home to help prevent
infection or inflammation. You may also be advised to use
artificial tears to help lubricate the eye. Do not resume wearing
a contact lens in the operated eye, even if your vision is blurry.
You should wait one to three days following surgery before
beginning any non-contact sports, depending on the amount of
activity required, how you feel, and your instructions, based upon our
evaluation of your surgery and your lifestyle.
To help prevent infection, you may need to wait for up to two weeks
after surgery or until advised otherwise before using
lotions, creams, or make-up around the eye. You
should also avoid swimming and using hot tubs or whirlpools for
Strenuous contact sports such as boxing, football, karate, etc. should
not be attempted for at least four weeks after surgery. It is important
to protect your eyes from anything that might get in them and from
being hit or bumped.
During the first few months after surgery, your vision may fluctuate slightly. It may take three to six months for your vision to stabilize after surgery. Other visual symptoms may also persist during this stabilization period.