LASIK eye surgery is a quick and painless procedure that can result in dramatic improvements in vision. Nevertheless, it is natural for many people to be nervous on the day of the procedure. By finding out what to expect, you can set your mind at rest. Here is a summary of what happens on the day of your LASIK eye surgery.
Before carrying out the procedure, your eye doctor will examine your eyes to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for LASIK. One of the exams will include the use of a corneal topographer to record the shape of your cornea. LASIK works by subtly changing the curvature of this part of your eye so that it is better able to focus light.
The LASIK Procedure
Before beginning your laser eye surgery, your surgeon will use numbing eye drops to prevent discomfort. Specific medical equipment will be used to gently hold your eyelid open during surgery to prevent you from blinking.
The first step in the LASIK procedure is to create a flap in the cornea either by using a laser or a very precise blade. Once the flap has been created and carefully lifted, the surgeon applies computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light to the inner layers of the cornea. The inner corneal layer is reshaped with the laser to improve vision or eliminate the need for prescription lenses. You should not feel any pain as the laser correction takes place. You might experience a slight sensation of pressure.
The procedure uses Iris Registration, an alignment method that maps 40 points on the iris and focuses the laser using these points, to track eye movements to ensure precise correction. When one lies down, the eyes naturally rotate and the pupils may migrate. Iris Registration detects any eye movement and allows the laser to rotate with these movements to ensure accurate treatment. The surgeon then gently replaces the flap and aligns it to its original position. The whole procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
After the Procedure
After surgery, you will need someone to drive you home. Your LASIK eye surgeon will suggest taking a long nap and rest as much as possible to allow the eyes to heal. To prevent accidental rubbing while the flap is healing, patients will be given a protective shield to wear at night following surgery. Some patients may feel slight irritation for a few hours, but most are quite comfortable after a nap and rest.
Most patients will experience a 50% improvement by that evening and 70% improvement by the next day. A patient’s vision should be fully restored within 1 – 4 days without the need for any corrective lenses. Most patients return to regular daily activity within 24 hours.
What to Expect After the Day of Surgery
After LASIK eye surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment to check your vision and determine whether you need further correction. Although TLC research findings show more than 90 percent of people who have LASIK achieve somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision without glasses or contact lenses after surgery, there is no guarantee of perfect 20/20 vision after eye surgery. However, a review paper published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that 95.4% of patients are satisfied with the results they achieved through LASIK eye surgery.