Lasik Treatment Expectations: What Should You Expect?
Lasik patients have a variety of expectations, both perceived and real. We break down the expectations for our patients in terms of before, during and after surgery so there are no surprises. Check out this chapter to understand these expectations, starting from the moment you come in for your initial appointment. No matter where you go, these expectations should be fairly standard.
Table of Contents
What Should I Expect Before Surgery?
Before surgery, expect to have an evaluation conducted by your eye doctor to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for lasik eye surgery and achieve optimal results. Before the evaluation, if you wear contacts, you will need to remain out of your contact lenses and switch to your glasses for some time as contact lenses can alter your cornea’s shape. The cornea will need to return to its original shape so that the measurements taken during the evaluation and the calculations are accurate. The specific amount of time you will need to remain out of your contact lenses will be determined and communicated to you by your eye doctor before the evaluation and will depend on factors such as the type of contact lenses you use and how long you have worn them.
When you come in for the evaluation, your eye doctor will review your medical history, including family history and past surgeries as certain medical conditions can prevent lasik eye surgery candidacy. The eye doctor will also conduct an eye exam which will include a vision test and an assessment for signs of any eye issues such as high eye pressure or infection. In addition, the eye doctor will check your eye prescription in multiple ways in order to determine your best corrected vision, that is the best vision you can achieve with glasses or contact lenses. It is best to bring your eyeglasses and contact lenses to the evaluation to be measured. Also, your eye doctor will measure the curvature of your cornea and check your cornea using imaging technology for any irregularities that could impact your candidacy for lasik eye surgery as well as determine the areas of your cornea that are in need of reshaping and how much tissue should be removed from your cornea. Before your lasik eye surgery, your eye doctor will discuss, at length, the risks and benefits to the procedure, the pre- and post-surgery expectations, and any concerns or questions that you have on the process. Some of these pre-expectations include understanding the
cost of the surgery as it is often not covered by insurance, arranging for someone to transport you to and from the surgery location, and minimizing the risk of infection due to debris from sources such as eye makeup and lotions. Two days before the LASIK procedure, you will start on antibiotic eye drops
What Should I Expect During Surgery?
Lasik eye surgery is a procedure that lasts about 30 minutes. Ahead of the surgery, you will have the choice to take an oral relaxing medication to help you relax and will take it one hour prior to the start of the procedure. No systemic anaesthesia is required for the surgery. At the start of the surgery, your eye surgeon will administer numbing, antibiotic, and steroid drops to your eye then place a tool that will keep the eyelids open. A suction ring will be applied and then the eye surgeon will use a cutting laser or small blade on the top layer of your cornea to create a flap to fold away from the front of the eye so they can access the part that needs to be reshaped. During this time, you may feel a bit of pressure and your vision may seem a bit dim. The eye surgeon then uses a different laser, preprogrammed with specific measurements of your eye, to reshape the cornea by removing a small amount of tissue from the cornea. During the procedure, to help keep your eyes stable, you will be instructed to focus your eyes on some light point. You also may smell an odor as the laser reshapes the corneal tissue. After the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is pulled back to its original position and typically heals without the need for stitches. Lasik eye surgery can be done for both eyes on the same day. The doctor will follow the same procedure for the other eye.
What should I expect after surgery?
It is very important not to rub your eyes for the first few days after the surgery and especially on the first night. A see-through eye shield will be placed over the eye and you will need to sleep with it on for a few days. You should have someone transport you back home after the operation and should not use your eyes heavily on the same day after the lasik procedure for activities such as reading, using your phone, or watching tv. It is recommended that instead you go home and nap or relax after the surgery. You may experience dry, itchy, and/or watery eyes and blurred vision immediately following the lasik procedure which can be eased with eye drops or pain medication. Your eye doctor will check on your eye’s healing progress and for any eye issues in a follow-up appointment, typically one or two days after the operation, and address any concerns on the symptoms/side effects. More follow-up appointments will be scheduled over a six-month duration after the procedure at your eye doctor’s discretion.
When should I see your healthcare provider?
You should see your healthcare provider for an evaluation to discuss if you are a good candidate for lasik surgery and to understand the risks, expectations, and cost of the procedure.
When should I contact your healthcare provider?
You should contact your healthcare provider when you considering lasik surgery in order to schedule an evaluation so your eye doctor can determine if you are an eligible candidate for the procedure.
When considering lasik who should you trust?
A fully licensed, board-certified ophthalmologist. Your eye surgeon should be someone highly trained in ophthalmology with proper surgical training and experience and is able to legally practice in your state.
How do you pick the right lasik practice?
With each practice you consider, verify the credentials and licensing of their surgeons, which can be looked up online. Also determine if they are adequately experienced, performing lasik on a regular basis and also being able to turn down lasik requests if they determine it would be unsafe/unhealthy for the patient. Also consider if they have had success with the procedure on patients with your precise vision problems. In addition, consider how you feel when coming and leaving the practice; comfort level in asking questions, if the information was communicated clearly with language and wording you can understand, if they are open to informing you which laser procedure is the best option for you and why, and any other gut feelings about the practice.
What is your doctor looking for during your evaluation?
Your eye doctor is looking to determine if you are a good candidate for lasik. To do this, your doctor will inquire about your medical history, including family history and past surgeries since certain medical
conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and nearsightedness, can prevent lasik eye surgery candidacy. Your eye doctor will also conduct an eye exam which will include a vision test and an assessment for signs of any eye issues such as high eye pressure or infection. In addition, during the evaluation, your eye doctor will check your eye prescription in multiple ways in order to determine your best corrected vision which is the best vision you can achieve with glasses or contact lenses. Also, your eye doctor will measure the curvature of your cornea and check your cornea’s shape and thickness, using imaging technology, and also for any irregularities that could impact your candidacy for lasik eye surgery. They will also determine the areas of your cornea that are in need of reshaping and how much tissue should be removed from your cornea.
Will you still need to wear glasses or contacts after lasik?
No, the lasik procedure should adjust your vision to the best vision you can achieve with glasses or contact lenses
What are your chances of seeing as well as when i wore glasses or contact lenses after lasik surgery?
The chances may depend on your specific vision problems and other such medical conditions but overall, over 8 out of 10 patients who have gone through with the procedure have reported not needing to use their glasses or contacts anymore in most situations, more than 90% achieved 20/40 vision or better, and the procedure has over a 96% patient satisfaction rate.
When will I see results from lasik eye surgery?
It may take two to six months after the lasik eye surgery for your eye to fully heal and vision to become stable in order to see the results.
When can you resume your normal activities like returning to work and driving?
Typically, it is safe to resume normal activities the following day post-operation.
How long will it take to recover after lasik surgery and return to your normal routine?
Your eye doctor will give recommendations on how soon you can return to your regular activities. Typically, normal daily activities can usually resume the day after the operation and exercise can safely resume a week after the surgery but contact sports and swimming can only safely resume after a month post-operation.
Will lasik have any effect on future cataract operations?
Lasik surgery does not prevent the development of a cataract but cataract surgery can be safely performed after previous lasik surgery.
What if I need my eyes adjusted after your lasik procedure?
If the lasik procedure resulted in an undercorrection, you may need to undergo an additional lasik surgery in order to attain a proper correction. It is a rare case that the patient’s level of vision decreases after the laser eye surgery due to a multitude of factors including aging, improper wound healing, and abnormal balances of hormones. If your vision decreases after lasik, it is important to consult with your eye doctor to determine if an adjustment through laser eye surgery is needed.
What kind of assistance will I need at home?
You will be able to see after the surgery but your vision may be blurry. Have someone transport you back home after the operation. It is important to keep your eyes closed as much as possible during the day following the surgery. Assistance in any activities requiring you to keep your eyes open, such as cooking, cleaning, or taking care of pets/kids, may be helpful to allow you to keep your eyes closed and relax following your surgery.
How many years does lasik last?
Lasik typically lasts between 10 years and a lifetime depending on a number of factors such as age when the surgery took place and medical conditions including pregnancy and imbalances in hormone levels.
Will the lasik procedure dry out your eyes?
Dry eye is a common side effect of lasik surgery typically lasting a couple of days post-operation. Your eye doctor will give you eye drops to help alleviate the dryness.
Schedule An Appointment
If you are considering lasik eye surgery, consult and schedule an evaluation with your eye doctor. Through the evaluation where they conduct an eye exam and medical history review, they will determine if you are a good candidate for the refractive surgery. Your lasik surgeon and practice should be credible with the proper certifications, licensure, and experience. The surgery typically takes about 30 minutes and is a two-step procedure. Expect blurry vision and some side effects such as dry eye following the surgery and be sure to have someone transport you to and from the eye surgery center. Relax on the day following the surgery and discuss with your eye doctor when to resume your normal activities. Once your eye fully heals after a couple of months and vision stabilizes, you should see the results in which your vision has improved to the best vision you can achieve with glasses or contact lenses. The results last between 10 years and a lifetime depending on your age at the time of operation and other medical factors. Lasik surgery will not impede on your ability to have future cataract operation of further laser eye surgery for adjustments and undercorrections.
Move to Next Chapter
The exact cost of lasik eye surgery can vary depending on multiple factors such as the surgeon performing the procedure, the quality of the laser technology and other equipment used, and the level of vision correction needed.