If you’re hoping to ditch your glasses and contact lenses by having LASIK, the thought of actually having the procedure may have you both excited and nervous at the same time. For many of us, it is really helpful to know what to expect. After all, surprises are great on birthdays and anniversaries, but not so much when it comes to our eyes, right? So, this post will be dedicated to giving you some helpful info on what to expect on your big day, and it will give you some helpful tips on making your procedure and recovery smooth and easy.
Before LASIK Surgery
Your first step in having LASIK is to call 20/20 Institute and speak with one of our experienced Vision Counselors who will answer any and all of your questions over the phone. 20/20 Institute Vision Counselors have received specialized training to be able to truly help you over the phone without you having to come in and meet with a doctor to get all of your preliminary questions answered.
Next, you’ll visit 20/20 Institute for a complimentary evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK. If the LASIK Specialist Doctors at 20/20 Institute determine that you are a candidate for LASIK, you will be welcome to make arrangements for your LASIK procedure!
The vast majority of procedure days at 20/20 Institute are Fridays. That’s because our patients have told us that it’s nice to have LASIK on the first day of a three-day weekend.
To prepare for your procedure day, plan on eating normally and taking your regular medications prescribed by your regular physician. We will ask that you arrange for someone to drive you home after your procedure, and it is ideal to dress comfortably so that afterwards you can go home and rest.
You will be offered a mild sedative pill to help you relax for your procedure. It’s usually a good idea for patients because the pill helps them relax some and it helps them take an excellent nap afterwards. Often times, patients report that their post-LASIK nap was one of the best naps they’ve had in a long time!
During LASIK Surgery
The LASIK procedure at 20/20 Institute takes about 10 minutes total for both eyes to be treated. Most patients have three common concerns about their LASIK procedure:
- What if I blink?
- What if I move my eye?
- Is it going to hurt?
What if I blink?
The answer to this question is simple: you can’t blink during your procedure. The doctors will use a gentle lid holder that keeps you from blinking, so you don’t have to worry about that!
What if I move?
This is a great question to ask. 20/20 Institute’s LASIK surgeons have chosen to use a treatment laser that has a computerized ultra-fast eye tracking system that operates at 500 times per second. The treatment (excimer) laser that 20/20 Institute’s doctors use has the fastest eye tracker available in the United States so you need not worry about body movements negatively affecting your LASIK procedure
Is it going to hurt?
The procedure is uncomfortable, but pain is not the word that is used by the vast majority of patients to describe their LASIK procedure experience. The eyes are numbed with eye drops (no needles in our procedure room), so the only sensation patients feel is pressure on the eye for about 30-45 seconds during the procedure.
After LASIK Surgery
When the procedure is all over and you open your eyes, you will know right away that your vision is much different than what you were used to without glasses or contact lenses. Most patients describe what they are seeing as similar to opening your eyes under water, or foggy glasses, and while everything isn’t really clear immediately afterwards, they are amazed at what they can see. Many patients, especially patients with thicker glasses before LASIK, cry tears of joy for the fact that they recognize their loved one across the room instead of seeing shapes and lights like they did just 10 minutes ago!
After one of the 20/20 Institute LASIK Specialists takes one last look at your eyes to make sure you are all set to head out, your trip home to take a nap is up next. The sooner that you can get home to start your nap the better, as the worst part of post-op LASIK recovery is the 2-3 hours after the numbing drops wear off. The pill that you will be offered prior to your procedure does a great job at helping you get to sleep.
Vision tends to be greatly improved when you wake up from your nap, and the eyes tend to feel pretty comfortable already. It is very common for patients to feel sensations like an eyelash in the eye at times for the first few days. Your best friend after LASIK will be preservative-free artificial tears, because when you put in one of those drops, it helps tremendously with those sensations.
Artificial tears cannot be over-used, and they help you heal and be comfortable, so the best plan is to use them as frequently as the doctors at 20/20 Institute recommend. Many patients find it helpful to have some artificial tears cooled down a bit in a refrigerator also. Just having some cooler drops is extra soothing and appreciated in those first few days after LASIK.
There are three things that we will ask you to do after LASIK to help you heal, and there are three things that we will ask you not to do during your healing time as well.
Three Things to Avoid Following LASIK:
- We will ask you to stay out of hot tubs & pools (rivers, lakes, oceans, etc) for at least a week after your LASIK procedure. Of course, showering is okay – see #2.
- We will ask that you avoid rubbing your eyes for 2 weeks after your procedure. When you shower, let the water run over closed eye lids, and avoid direct stream of shower water on your eyes. When you dry off, allow the area around your eyes to air dry instead of toweling your eyes dry.
- Lastly, we will ask that you not wear eye makeup for at least 36 hours after LASIK. When you do go back to wearing eye makeup, remove the makeup with downward strokes on your top lid and do NOT rub side-to-side to remove it.
Three Things to do Following LASIK:
- Sleep is the best remedy for the initial post-op discomfort. Again, the most discomfort following LASIK usually occurs 2-3 hours after the numbing drops wear off from the procedure. When patients are able to get home relatively quickly and fall asleep, they tend to report little to no discomfort after LASIK.
- Use your eye drops. You will be given a prescription for two medicated eye drops to use after LASIK. Use the drops as instructed. In addition, you’ll have the preservative-free artificial tears to use.
- Wear your goggles when you sleep. 20/20 Institute will provide you with goggles to wear while you sleep.
You will have your first checkup after your LASIK procedure on the day after your LASIK, and your second checkup will be sometime the following week. It is medically necessary to come to these two checkup appointments in the first week after LASIK. The doctors will evaluate your vision and how you are healing and advise you on how to proceed to ensure a smooth recovery.
Deciding to have LASIK is a decision that you will most likely wish you did sooner. Remember, our Vision Counselors are available to you at 303-202-0669 if you have any questions or would like to schedule your complimentary evaluation and consultation to see if LASIK is right for you.