What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?
What to Expect Before Surgery?
In case you were thinking, this is what you would go through before a LASIK eye surgery. Prior to the actual LASIK surgery, you have to undergo a number of base level evaluation tests, that is, tests that your doctor will perform on you to determine if you are fit to go through the LASIK surgical process.
In case you wear soft lenses or contact lenses it is advised to stop the usage of such lenses and start using glasses before you undergo the base level evaluations. The problem with contacts lenses is that they tend to change the shape of the cornea and that too up to several weeks even after you would stop using them. This also depends upon the type of the contact lenses that you use. In case you do not stop the usage of contacts long before the evaluation tests, the test results may come out to be faulty. Eventually, these faulty test result may lead to an equally faulty surgery plan and that is something that you would not desire as this would mean that the surgery would not be a hundred percent successful, that is, it may result in poor vision after the surgery. It is important to understand that these measurements will be determining how much of corneal tissue needs to be removed. Thus in orders to get the most accurate measurements, these tests are often repeated after a week of the first evaluation to check whether the structure of the cornea has changed or not.
The different types of lenses that people usually use also determine the time period they need to wait before the structure of the cornea gets back to normal. There are basically three primary types of contact lenses. They are as follows –
• Soft lenses – If you are using soft lenses, you should ideally stop wearing them for a minimum of 2 weeks before your initial evaluation.
• Rigid gas permeable lenses – In case you are using rigid gas permeable contact lenses, you have to stop their usage for a minimum of 3 weeks before the initial tests begin.
• Hard contact lenses - Hard contact lenses are the type of lenses that affect the cornea the most. Thus you should stop using these contact lenses at least 4 weeks before the initial tests, in case you are using them.
The idea behind this distinction is that that this gap will allow the cornea to take back its original shape. This is because when we use contact lenses, they tend to reshape the curvature and structure of the cornea. Different types of lenses have a different degree to which they affect the structure of the cornea.
The eye evaluation tests are important as well and are not to be taken lightly. They essentially determine the amount of corneal tissue to be cut and operated on. In case it is still not clear, it basically determines the quality of vision you will have after the surgery. Thus before the tests, you should ideally tell the doctor –
• About the past and current medical eye conditions have had experienced and are still experiences if any;
• And of course, about every medication that you have taken or are taking currently. These medications may be over the counter medications etc.
After the preliminary evaluation tests, your doctor will discuss the following things with you –
• Whether you are a fit candidate for the LASIK eye surgery;
• The risks, the benefits, and the possible alternatives to the LASIK eye surgery;
• What you will be expecting before, during as well as after the surgery;
• The responsibilities that will fall on you before, during, as well as after the LASIK surgery.
What To Expect During Surgery?
The actual surgery will be over within a period of 30 minutes. You will have to lie on your back on a reclining chair at the operating theatre. The laser apparatus will set up. It will include a huge machine and a microscope added with it accompanied with a computer. Doctors will put anesthetic drops on your eyes, which will be followed by the area around your eyes being cleaned. An instrument termed as the lid speculum would be placed above your eyes to keep them open during the surgery.
It is not necessary but the doctor may use a blade-like device called a mechanical microkeratome to slit open the flap on the cornea. If and only if the mechanical microkeratome is used to cut out the corneal flap, a ring-like object will be placed on the eyes and high amounts of pressure will be applied to make suction on the cornea. Patients may experience a little discomfort while this pressure is applied to the eyes.
The microkeratome is attached with the suction device on the eyes. The microkeratome is then used to cut out the flap of the cornea. It essentially a cutting device that is disposed of once it is used. In many places, doctors choose to use a laser microkeratome instead of a mechanical one. In case a laser microkeratome is used, the cornea will first be flattened with the help of a plastic plate. Patients will still have their vision but it will be fluctuating and blurry at times. Needless to say, there will be mild discomfort in the eyes. The laser is eventually shot inside the corneal tissue, resulting in numerous water and gas bubbles that create the corneal flap. The plate is finally removed from the eyes.
The laser beam will be placed on top of the eye and the doctor would ask you to stare a source of light. This light source is often mistaken for the laser but it is not. It is actually the point that helps you keep your eyes stable. It is also important to know that if you are not able to stare at the light source for at least 60 seconds, you are not a fit candidate for LASIK eye surgery.
Once the laser starts, it will start removing corneal tissue. Many people have reported a smell similar to burning hair. A computer controls the amount of laser that is used to remove tissue. The computer is also programmed to vaporize a specific quantity of corneal tissue. Once the operation is done, the corneal flap will be put back on to heal. The doctor will also give you eye shields to help you protect your eyes from unwanted injuries.
What To Expect After Surgery?
Just after the surgery is done, you may feel a little itchiness, a little burn, or even that something is in your eyes. You may even experience some mild pain in your eyes. The eyes may keep watering up and needless to say, the yes will have blurry vision. Your instinct would be to rub your eyes till the discomfort vanishes but that would be a mistake. You are strongly advised not to rub your eyes in any form. Rubbing the eyes may result in the flap being ruptured from its new position.
Apart from the discomfort, you may feel high sensitivity to bright light, see halos, and experience slight fluctuations. These symptoms, however, will improve in a drastic manner within the first few days. In case your pain does not subside, you should visit your doctor without a second thought.
Within the first 24 to 48 hours, you should have frequent meetings with your doctor. And then, for the first 6 months, you should have regular appointments just to make sure that everything is in place. On the first meeting after the operation, the doctor will discard the eye shields, he/she will test ocular vision as well as examine the eyes. The doctor may also suggest the use of some artificial tears in order to keep the eyes lubricated and away from infection.
Many people have queries about sports or contact sports. Well, the answer is no. you should stay away from contact sports for at least 2 to 3 days. When it comes to lotions and make-up, you will be advised to wait for at least 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery just to make sure that no infection occurs in the eyes.