Saturday, January 10, 2009

LASIK Expectations-During Your LASIK Surgery

On the day of your LASIK Surgery it is completely normal to experience some anxiety. But, regardless of the type of Laser Eye Surgery procedure that you are having-you should relax. When you arrive at the LASIK practice or LASIK center a staff member will greet you and go over any last minute paperwork. If necessary, any additional testing might be done or be repeated. If you have not already done so, you will need to sign an Informed Consent indicating that you understand the risks and benefits of LASIK as well as any possible complications and that your eye surgeon has reviewed the alternatives to LASIK for your vision correction. Next your LASIK surgeon or a staff member may give you some oral tablets or pills that are an anti-anxiety medication to help you remain relaxed. This is a mild medication and will make you calm and at most just a little "dull" but not sleepy. The staff will then place a series of numbing drops in your eye. These do not make you uncomfortable but do make your eyes numb during your LASIK procedure so that you will feel virtually nothing during the entire Laser Eye Surgery treatment. You will be accompanied into the laser room where you will be instructed to position yourself comfortably in a bed like chair or platform. Take a moment to position yourself so that you are comfortable. Expect to hear the low humming like sound of the laser and maybe some air rushing sound or vacuum sound. When the laser actually fires you will hear it make a sharp clicking sound. After you are comfortable, a staff member will clean your eyelids and the surfaces around your eye with an alcohol or medicated pad or swab. Then a sterile lightweight drape will be placed around each eye as it is readied for treatment. Your LASIK surgeon will gently place a fine instrument between your eyelids to help you remember not to blink. This will not be uncomfortable but will feel like a mild pressure. The eye surgeon will then create the flap of tissue under which the laser energy is applied either by using a laser or another instrument called a microkeratome. The creation of the flap takes less than a minute, in fact only a few seconds and causes no discomfort---again only a mild pressure. During the flap creation, it is normal for your vision to get dark and then back to normal again. You will not see the flap being created. Once the flap has been created, the actual Laser Eye Surgery procedure itself is performed after the flap has been gently folded back. Depending on the laser and the strength of the prescription that you need corrected, the laser portion of the procedure can take 4-90 seconds. During the Laser Eye Surgery portion, you will hear the clicking or tapping sound of the laser itself. There is no discomfort. You will be instructed to look at a light and hold steady. Relax because even if your eyes move a bit the laser will actually track the movement and put the laser spots in the correct location for your correction. Upon completion of the Laser Eye Surgery portion of your treatment, the LASIK Surgeon will replace the flap into its original position. With LASIK, because the cornea "sticks" to itself there is no need for stitches. At this moment your vision will be blurry but will be dramatically improved compared to before your LASIK Surgery but will not be nearly as good as it will be the next day-and it will be even better the day after. It is likely that within 24-48 hours after having LASIK you will be able to pass a drivers test for driving without any vision correction. During the first day or so after your LASIK Surgery, it is normal to feel a sandy gritty sensation as if something is in your eye. This is also going to make your eyes feel dry as well. A sensation of dry eyes after LASIK is an expected event. You will need to use lots and lots of artificial tear drops-do not scrimp on these-use them every 2-4 hours or more if necessary to make you comfortable. By about three months after your LASIK, your vision will be pretty much stable and where it is going to be. The majority of the visual recovery after LASIK occurs in the first week or so and then, there are slow gradual improvements each day until about that three-month window. This is something that you should expect. Do not judge your final result until you are at least three months after your Laser Eye Surgery.

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