What to expect Before, During & After your LASIK procedure

First of all, no LASIK procedure will be the same, and you have to understand that your experience may differ from your friend’s, because individual experience will vary from patient to patient. The LASIK surgery is dependent on the patient’s own eye requirements, doctor’s experience as well as the different types of laser eye surgery.

Discuss your expectations with your eye doctor, and before you look for the best LASIK surgeons, do read our checklist to make an informed choice.

To find out what you have to consider for LASIK, you can read the Laser Eye Surgery Singapore checklist.

Initial Evaluation

Should you choose to proceed with LASIK surgery, you will first need to be evaluated by your Eye Doctor to see if you are a good candidate.

what to expect for Lasik procedure

Contact lenses will change the shape of your cornea for up to several weeks after you have stopped using them depending on the type of contact lenses you wear. Therefore if your cornea does not assume its natural shape before surgery, this will lead to inaccurate measurements and thus a poor LASIK procedure, which could lead to consequences.

Before you see your Doctor for your initial evaluation prior to your LASIK surgery, you should stop wearing your contact lenses:

  • Hard contact lens – Stop wearing 4 weeks prior to evaluation.
  • Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lens – Stop wearing 3 weeks prior to evaluation.
  • Soft contact lens – Stop wearing 2 weeks prior to evaluation.
Lasik Procedure

Source: US FDA

At your Initial Evaulation

You should tell your Eye Doctor:

  • All about your current and past medical conditions, as well as your past eye history
  • About all the medications you are currently taking, as well as any medication you are allergic to.

You should discuss with your Eye Doctor:

Do remember that this your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. You will have to feel comfortable before you choose to proceed. Do not feel pressured by your doctor, family, friends or anyone regarding LASIK surgery. Make your choice based on your own personal value and risk/reward consideration.

Before your LASIK procedure

On the day before your LASIK surgery, you should stop using any creams, lotions, make up and perfumes. These products along the eye lashes may increase your risk of infection after surgery. To be careful, your Doctor may ask you to wash your eye lashes well before your LASIK procedure.

Do also remember to arrange for transportation to and from your surgery as you will not be able to see well immediately after the procedure.

During your LASIK procedure

The LASIK procedure should take less than 30 minutes if you choose to do both eyes on the same day. You will lie on your back on a reclining chair beside the laser system, which includes a large machine with a microscope attached to it and a computer screen.

To begin, the area around your eye will be cleaned, and then a numbing eye drop will be placed into your eye. Thereafter, an instrument called a lid speculum will be used to hold your eyelids open.

Lasik Surgery

Depending on the type of laser eye surgery that you choose to do, your doctor may use a mechanical microkeratome (a blade device), or a laser keratome (a laser device), to cut a flap on the cornea.

If a mechanical microkeratome is used, a ring will be placed on your eye and very high pressures will be applied to create suction to the cornea. Your vision will dim while the suction ring is on and you may feel the pressure and experience some discomfort during this part of the procedure. The microkeratome, a cutting instrument, is attached to the suction ring. Your doctor will use the blade of the microkeratome to cut a flap in your cornea. Microkeratome blades are meant to be used only once and then thrown away. The microkeratome and the suction ring are then removed.

If a laser keratome is used, the cornea is flattened with a clear plastic plate. Your vision will dim and you may feel the pressure and experience some discomfort during this part of the procedure. Laser energy is focused inside the cornea tissue, creating thousands of small bubbles of gas and water that expand and connect to separate the tissue underneath the cornea surface, creating a flap. The plate is then removed.

You will be able to see, but you will experience some form of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. The doctor will then lift the flap and fold it back on its hinge, and dry the exposed tissue.

The first light that you see is to help position your eye and keep your eye stared firmly at a fixed spot. This light that you see is not the laser that will be used to remove tissue from the cornea. (NOTE: You must be able to stare at a fixed object for at least 60 seconds, otherwise you may not be a good candidate for LASIK surgery.)

Once your eye is in the correct position, your doctor begin the LASIK surgery. At this point in the procedure, you may notice new sounds and smells. The pulse of the laser will produce a ticking sound. As the laser removes corneal tissue, some patients have reported a smell similar to something burning. During the procedure, a computer will control the amount of laser energy delivered to your eye. Before the start of surgery, your doctor will have already pre-programmed the computer to vaporize a particular amount of tissue based on the measurements taken at your initial evaluation. After parts of your corneal tissue is vaporized, the flap is then put back into position.

An eye shield will then be placed over your eye at the end of the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold the flap in place. It is very important for you to constantly put on this shield to stop yourself from accidentally rubbing your eye and putting pressure on your eye while you sleep, as well as to protect your eye from being hit or poked until the flap has healed.

After your LASIK procedure

Immediately after your LASIK procedure, here is what you may feel as the after effects of LASIK:

  • Burning sensation
  • Itch
  • Like there is something in your eye
  • Discomfort
  • Pain
  • Watery/teary eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Whites of your eye may appear bloodshot

Your vision will probably be blurry and hazy, but this is normal. If your symptoms get worse, you should contact your Doctor immediately.

Lasik Procedure - Recovery time

Source: US FDA

You should only start non-contact sports preferably three days after your LASIK procedure, also depending on how you feel, as well as the amount of activity required. If you play contact sports, you should wait 4 weeks before you begin.

As for lotions, creams and make up around the eye, you may need to wait up to two weeks, or until such a time where your Doctor advises you to.

There should also be no swimming or hot tub for 8 weeks.

During the recovery stage (first few months after your LASIK surgery), your vision may fluctuate.

  • It may take up to three to six months for your vision to stabilize.
  • You may experience glare, haloes, difficulty driving at night, and other visual symptoms may during this stabilization period. If you need to go for re-correction surgery, you should wait until your eye stabilises, where the readings are consistent for two consecutive visits at least 3 months apart before re-operation.
  • It is important to realize that although your vision of far distances may improve after re-operation, it is unlikely that other visual symptoms such as glare or haloes will improve after your LASIK procedure.

Feel free to share with us your experience in the comments below!

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