If you ask our patients, many of them would tell you that LASIK eye surgery is a life-changing procedure. When you’ve been completely dependent on glasses and contact lenses your whole life like many of our patients, LASIK can make a huge difference in your quality of life. But, when patients ask this question, they’re usually referring to the specific sensations and visual changes during and immediately after their procedure, so that’s the focus of this blog.
Although you should plan to be in the office for one to two hours, the LASIK surgery itself often takes less than 5 minutes per eye. Much of your time will be spent obtaining fresh Wavefront measurements of your eyes. Then, you’ll have a chance to enjoy a massage chair and snacks in our relaxation room prior to your procedure.
Once the laser is calibrated and Dr. Mandel has designed your unique treatment, our LASIK technician, Gabrielle, will escort you to our laser suite and prep you for Dr. Mandel. This includes sterilizing the area around your eye and giving you anesthetic drops to keep your eyes comfortable throughout your LASIK surgery.
During the surgery, Dr. Mandel will walk you through what to expect, step-by-step. First, he inserts a specialized instrument to help keep your eye open. Then, you will feel a slight pressure on your eye and your vision will go dark for a few seconds while the flap is being created with our Femtosecond IntraLase Laser. Once the flap is created, Dr. Mandel will gently lift the flap, align your eye underneath the VISX Star S4 Excimer Laser and your treatment will begin. The excimer laser gently re-profiles your cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Treatment times vary between patients but are typically between 10 seconds and one minute. During this portion of the treatment, which is painless, you will hear a hammering noise similar to that of an MRI machine. Once this portion is complete, Dr. Mandel will gently reposition the corneal flap with a specialized cannula that he also uses to irrigate the flap. If you are having LASIK on both eyes, Dr. Mandel will repeat the same procedure on your second eye.
Immediately After LASIK Surgery
Dr. Mandel will guide you into the post-operative exam room, next to our laser suite, where he will examine your corneal flaps under the slit-lamp microscope. You will then meet with one of our LASIK consultants who will give you your first set of antibiotic and steroid eye drops as well as written instructions for your eye drops and your post-operative care for the day of your LASIK surgery. The time of your 1 day post- operative exam will also be confirmed. After this, you’re free to go home.
The Night of LASIK Surgery
The best remedy for your eyes after LASIK is to keep them closed, so we recommend you go home and go to sleep or close your eyes for a minimum of 4-6 hours. It’s critical that you not touch your eyes for 24 hours following LASIK in order to allow the flap to heal. To ensure you don’t accidentally touch your eyes during sleep, you will be given protective glasses to wear anytime you sleep for the first 24 hours. We’ll also provide you with Tylenol PM to help you sleep. However, if you still can’t sleep, just keep your eyes closed and quiet for 4-6 hours ~ music usually helps with this.
The numbing drops given prior to LASIK typically wear off within 30 minutes. Once that happens, you may experience some discomfort, but it’s usually not severe and can be relieved with over the counter NSAIDS such as Advil or Alleve. You should expect for your vision to be blurry for the rest of the day. Patients often describe it as ‘looking through water.’ In fact, your vision will likely get worse throughout the day of your LASIK surgery. Don’t worry! This is completely normal. The real improvement in vision for nearsighted patients comes the day after LASIK surgery.
After your initial nap, you should rest your eyes as much as possible on the day of your surgery. You can eat anything you want, but we don’t recommend you drink alcohol on the day of your LASIK surgery. Drinking alcohol dehydrates you, which can also dry out your eyes. We want your eyes to be in the best possible condition as you heal on the day of your LASIK surgery, so save the cocktails and the celebration for the next day!
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