Every year, thousands of Canadians are putting away glasses and contacts for good with the help of Laser Eye Surgery. These procedures, performed by BCLasik, are the most commonly practiced methods of correcting refractive errors such as astigmatism (blurry vision at any distance), myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), or presbyopia (inability to focus on nearby objects). One of the leading forms of Laser Eye Surgery is Lasik, and the purpose of this post is to help people understand what they should expect during their LASIK experience.
The first step is to book a consultation with a vision counselor to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for LASIK. As discussed in our last post, even though Lasik has opened the opportunity of laser eye surgery to more people than ever before, not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. At this consultation, you will undergo several simple tests to help the vision counselor assess the best treatment option for your eyes.
To properly prepare for this consultation, there are some things you should keep in mind. First, if you wear contacts, it is important that you remove them and switch strictly to glasses before your evaluation with the counselor. Contact lenses can change the shape of your cornea even after you stop using them, leading to inaccurate measurements and reducing your chances of perfect vision post-procedure. For testing purposes, we ask that you stay away from contacts for 3-5 days prior to your appointment.
After this consultation, your vision counselor will let you know which procedure, either Lasik or a Lasik alternative we offer, is best for your specific vision needs. They will also go over the pre and post-surgical steps you should take to help you get the best results medically possible. At this time, you will be able to book in for a surgery date or go home and get back to us with your final decision later on.
Preparing For Laser Eye Surgery
Once you’ve booked your surgery date, be sure to follow the pre-operative instructions provided during your consultation. Do not use creams, lotions, make-up, or perfumes the day before surgery. These products can produce debris along your eyelashes, increasing the risk of infection before and after surgery.
Please ensure you have a driver who can take you home after surgery is complete. Even though most patients experience the clear sight Lasik provides immediately after their procedure, there is a chance your vision will be blurred for a short time, making it unsafe to drive. Also, if a patient is nervous, the doctor may administer medicine to help the patient relax. The medicine’s effects may be felt for a short time after surgery so you must have someone to help you get home safely.
Date Of Your Procedure
Even though the procedure takes only 5-10 minutes, expect to be at the clinic for at least 2 hours. You will lie down on a chair in the room with the laser system while a numbing drop is placed in your eye. Your eyelid will be cleaned and a tool called a lid speculum will be used to hold your eye open as an opening is created in your cornea. Some patients have reported feeling discomfort in the form of pressure during this step.
Finally, the doctor will ask you to stare at a light. This light is not the laser that will be correcting your vision; it is a focus point to ensure your eye remains still during the procedure. When you are focussed on the light, the doctor will start the laser. The pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound and you may become aware of a burning smell as the laser adjusts your corneal tissue. Before the surgery begins, the doctor will have programmed the laser to adjust your cornea based on the measurements taken at your initial consultation.
When the laser finishes, the opening in your cornea will be closed back up, and an eye shield is provided to ensure your cornea heals properly. Because there are no stitches involved with this procedure, it is important that you keep the eye shield in place. The shield will protect you from rubbing your eye or getting poked throughout the day and from putting pressure on it while you sleep.
In the days following your procedure, your eye may feel itchy, irritated, or have minor to mild discomfort. Both your eyes may water, and your vision may be blurry. You will instinctively want to rub your eyes but be sure not to! Contact with your eyes could result in the surgical site shifting and cause further treatment to be necessary. These symptoms should decrease drastically over the next couple of days, but it is recommended that you take a few days off work while you recover. Please note that you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or your symptoms start to worsen instead of getting better.
We recommend that you wait 1-3 days after your procedure to resume any non-contact physical activities. To help prevent infection, you should wait 2 weeks (or the time recommended by the doctor) before beginning to apply creams, lotions, make-up, or perfumes. For at least 4 weeks, do not participate in contact sports, swimming, or the use of hot tubs.
Additional precautions will be covered by your vision counselor. If you have any questions, please be sure to write them down so we can address them during your consultation. Join the millions of people who now live life without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses. Let us help change how you see life with this safe, pain-free 5-minute procedure.