If you’re considering getting LASIK eye surgery to improve your vision, you may wonder how to best prepare for the procedure. While the most important step is to find an experienced and reputable LASIK eye surgeon, the following checklist will help ensure you end up with healthy eyes and optimum vision after your LASIK procedure.
In order to be cleared for LASIK, your eye doctor will perform a complete eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and you are a good candidate for LASIK. During your pre-LASIK eye exam, the eye doctor will evaluate your eyes from front to back to make sure the eyes and corneas are healthy and suitable for surgery.
According to Key Whitman Eye Center’s President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, if your eye doctor uncovers any issues during the exam, you may still have options.
As he explains, “We may need to treat some issues, like dry eye symptoms, prior to surgery. Other conditions may preclude a patient from having LASIK. If the patient isn’t a good candidate for LASIK, we can discuss other surgical options – PRK, EBK, implantable contact lenses (ICLs) and others – that may be a better fit.”
Contacts alter the shape of the eyes and hydration level in the cornea. In order to ensure an optimum outcome following LASIK, the exam and procedure need to be performed after your eyes return to their natural shape. If you wear soft lenses, stop wearing them three days prior the exam and surgery. People who wear gas permeable or hard lenses should stop wearing lenses a minimum of three weeks prior.
Since you will probably be given light sedation prior to LASIK, you can expect to feel drowsy afterwards, which means you will be unable to drive safely. Blurriness following surgery may also occur, which can also impede your ability to drive a car.
Residue from these products can increase your risk for post-surgery infection, so abstain from using them 24 hours prior to surgery. You can wash your face the day of the procedure, just be sure to use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser.
Before the procedure, you will receive a numbing anesthetic in the eye and a mild sedative to help you feel comfortable during the surgery and to help you sleep when you get home. Your eye surgeon will also let you know what to expect during the procedure, which only takes an average of 15 minutes to perform.
As Dr. Whitman explains, “One of our main goals prior to surgery is to put the patient’s mind at ease. Our eye surgeons explain what will happen during the procedure and reassure the patient that they won’t feel any pain and have nothing to fear. I can’t tell you how many times patients have told me, ‘If I knew it was this easy, I would have had LASIK years ago.’”
Buyer Beware: Learn why price shouldn’t be your first consideration when shopping for LASIK in this past post.
Before leaving the surgery center, you will receive protective goggles to wear home and until your post-operative exam in the morning. It’s also important to rest and relax once you return home, in order to promote healing.
After a night’s rest, your eye doctor will examine you to make sure your eyes are healing properly. He or she can address any additional questions you have regarding the LASIK procedure and what you can expect in the coming weeks.
“Most patients are amazed by how well they can see right after surgery. However, it’s completely normal to experience hazy or blurry vision the next day. Patients should expect to notice improved vision in the days immediately following the procedure. If you have any concerns about your vision, contact your eye doctor right away,” Dr. Whitman says.
Following your LASIK procedure, your doctor will prescribe eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation and to keep eyes moist. Most patients experience dryness of the eyes – whether they feel it or not – until the LASIK flap has completely healed. Continue using eye drops as recommended by your eye doctor.
In order to ensure you experience optimum vision and your eyes heal properly, your eye doctor will usually want to see you in one week and at one month following your LASIK procedure. He or she will instruct you when to schedule your next appointment, based on your individual needs.
Your eyes and the LASIK flap need time to heal. Don’t jeopardize your excellent post-LASIK vision by playing sports or taking part in activities where you are at increased risk for receiving a blow to the eye. Be sure to wear protective eyewear when participating in sports and other activities where you could receive a blow to the eye and be sure to wear good sunglasses that will protect your eyes from the dangerous effects of the sun.
Want to find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK or other eye procedures to improve your vision? Give us a call (214) 220-3937. If you prefer to connect with us online, please fill out the handy online appointment form here.
ABOUT DR. WHITMAN
Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., is a nationally renowned eye surgeon, board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has been the President and Chief Surgeon of Key-Whitman Eye Centers in Dallas since 1996 and is currently President of the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society. Dr. Whitman is a frequent participant in clinical trials and is known as a respected researcher, innovator and leader in refractive cataract surgery, LASIK eye surgery and for his extensive experience implanting high-technology lenses. He is frequently called upon to serve on the boards of local and national medical associations and organizations. Dr. Whitman and his wife reside in Dallas and enjoy fitness, playing tennis, snow skiing and traveling.
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