You should have the opportunity to ask your doctor questions during this discussion. Give yourself plenty of time to think about the risk/benefit discussion, to review any informational literature provided by your doctor, and to have any additional questions answered by your doctor before deciding to go through with surgery and before signing the informed consent form.
You should not feel pressured by your doctor, family, friends, or anyone else to make a decision about having surgery. Carefully consider the pros and cons yourself.
The day before surgery, you should stop using creams, lotions, makeup & perfumes.
These products as well as debris along the eyelashes may increase the risk of infection during and after surgery.
Your doctor may ask you to scrub your eyelashes for a period before surgery to get rid of (makeup) residues and debris along the eye lashes. Also before surgery, arrange for transportation to and from your surgery and your first follow-up visit. On the day of surgery, your doctor might give you some medicine to make you relax. This medicine impairs your ability to drive and your vision may be blurry. Even if you don’t drive make sure someone can bring you home after surgery.
The surgery should take less than 30 minutes. You will lie on your back in a reclining chair in an exam room containing the laser system. The laser system includes a large machine with a microscope attached to it and a computer control screen. Before the start of surgery, your doctor will have programmed the computer to vaporize a specified amount of tissue based on the measurements taken at your pre-op evaluations.
A numbing drop will be placed in your eye, the area around your eye will be cleaned, and an instrument called a lid speculum will be used to help keep your eyelids open.
A ring will be used to hold onto your eye and very high pressures will be applied to create measured suction onto 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, is attached to the suction ring to create a flap in your cornea.
The microkeratome is removed and the suction ring is released. You will be able to see, but with fluctuating degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. The doctor will lift the flap and fold it back on its hinge, and dry the exposed tissue.
The laser will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked to stare at a light. This is not the laser used to remove tissue from the cornea. This light is to help you fixate by staring at a fixed object for about 60 seconds. (Remove), you may not be a good candidate for this surgery.
When your eye is in the correct position, your doctor will start the laser. At this point in the surgery, you may become aware of new sounds and smells.
The pulse of the laser makes a fast ticking sound. As the laser removes corneal tissue, some people have reported a smell similar to burning hair. A computer controls the amount of laser delivered to your eye. After the pulses of laser energy have vaporized the corneal tissue, the flap is put back into position.
A shield should 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 important for you to wear this shield as directed, to prevent you from rubbing your eye and putting pressure on your eye while you sleep, and to protect your eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.
Immediately after the procedure, your eye may feel burning, itching, or feel like there is something in it.
You may experience some discomfort, or in some cases, mild to moderate pain and your doctor may suggest you take a mild pain reliever. Both your eyes may tear or be watery.
Your vision will probably be hazy or blurry.
Your doctor may give you one or more types of eye drops to take at home to help prevent infection and/or inflammation. You may also be advised to use artificial tears to help lubricate the eye.
** Do not resume wearing a contact lens in the operated eye, even if your vision is blurry.
You will instinctively want to rub your eye, but don’t! Rubbing your eye could dislodge the flap, requiring further treatment.
You may experience sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or haloes around lights, and the whites of your eye may look red or bloodshot. These symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days after surgery.
You should plan on taking a few days off from work until these symptoms subside. You should contact your doctor immediately and not wait for your scheduled visit, if you experience severe pain, or if your vision or other symptoms get worse instead of better.
You should see your doctor within the first 24 hours after surgery and at the regular arranged intervals after that for at least the first six months.
At the first postoperative visit, your doctor will remove the eye shield, test your vision, and examine your eye.
You should wait one to three days following surgery before beginning any non-contact sports, depending on the amount of activity required, how you feel, and your doctor’s instructions.
To help prevent infection, you may need to wait for up to two weeks after surgery or until your doctor advises you before using lotions, creams, or make-up around the eye. Your doctor may advise you to continue cleaning your eyelashes for a period of time after surgery.
You should also avoid swimming and using hot tubs or whirlpools for 1-2 months.
Strenuous contact sports such as boxing, football, karate, etc. should not be attempted for at least twelve weeks after surgery. It is important to protect your eyes from anything that might get in them and from being hit or bumped to shift the flap.