Laser Eye Surgery FAQs

Knowing what to expect during laser eye surgery will help you get through the nervousness that can come with such a procedure. We have the information you need to soar through the surgery.

Pre-operative and post-operative visits are the longest part of the LASIK procedure.
The LASIK procedure itself only takes about 15 minutes, but the pre-operative and post-operative visits stretch the LASIK procedure to an hour or more. During the pre-operative visit, your LASIK eye surgeon answers any final questions about the LASIK procedure. Depending on the type of LASIK technology you use, your LASIK eye surgeon either measures your eyes during this pre-operative visit or uses Wavefront technology to map your eyes for the LASIK procedure.

Be prepared to be aware during your LASIK procedure.
One of the most unsettling things about the LASIK procedure is being aware during the surgery. You are given topical eye drops to anesthetize your eye, but your eyelid is held open and you stare into a blinking light while the surgery is performed. Some patients find this prospect extremely uncomfortable, and take anti-anxiety medications before the procedure to help them relax. If the prospect of being aware during the procedure is a big concern, talk with your LASIK eye surgery center about your options.

Different LASIK procedure techniques involve different methods.
Because LASIK procedures involve reshaping the cornea, your LASIK eye surgeon must be able to access the cornea. To begin your LASIK procedure, your LASIK eye surgeon either cuts your cornea with a knife or uses a special type of laser to create a corneal flap.

Reshaping the cornea itself is the quickest part of the LASIK procedure.
Reshaping the cornea only takes about 15 seconds. After your LASIK eye surgeon creates a corneal flap, the rest of the LASIK procedure involves firing short bursts of the laser to reshape your cornea. Some patients report an unsettling smell during this part of the LASIK procedure, but this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

During the post-operative LASIK procedure visit, you'll receive recovery instructions.
Depending on the type of LASIK procedure you have, you may have specific recovery instructions. Some procedures require a slightly longer recovery time, so heed the recovery advice of your LASIK eye surgeon. Most importantly, follow the guidelines for eye drops and painkillers. You'll likely require pain medications for the first several days of your LASIK procedure recovery, so obey instructions and take the pain medications as advised. Some LASIK procedure patients feel fine the next day, and discontinue pain medications, only to discover it's a mistake. Finally, dry eyes are a side effect for many LASIK procedure patients in the three to six months following the procedure, so use eye drops judiciously.

Give yourself some down time after your LASIK procedure.
Many people schedule a LASIK procedure for a Friday so they have the weekend to recover, or schedule it for early in the week and take the week off. Try to give yourself at least a couple of days of downtime to recover from your LASIK procedure. Have a friend or family member check in periodically to see if you need anything. Don't plan to drive home.

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Although LASIK surgery is widely available and increasingly affordable, don't go blindly into your vision correction surgery: Take the time to do your research and know what to expect.

LASIK surgery can help you decrease your reliance on glasses or contact lenses to see clearly. LASIK is an acronym for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The procedure changes the shape of the cornea, which is the clear covering of the front of the eye, by using a laser.

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