Before undergoing laser eye surgery it is important to understand what exactly you can expect. As with many surgical procedures people often have misconceptions as to what is involved.
Lasik and Lasek are the two main types of laser eye surgery and the way in which they are performed is quite different. For more information on the Lasik procedure please read this guide. To read about Lasek click here.
This guide will try and give you some general information about what to expect with laser eye surgery and also highlight some of the most common misconceptions.
- The actual procedure itself typically only takes about 10 minutes to perform and this is for both eyes.
- Prior to the surgery, you will typically see your surgeon for a quick consultation to check you are happy with everything. The surgeon will also check he/she is happy with all the measurements that have been previously taken in the laser eye surgery consultation
- Once you are taken through for the treatment your eyes are anaesthetised (numbed) using eye drops. There is NO NEEDLE used during the procedure at all! The drops sting slightly for 10-20 seconds and it really is nothing to worry about. It is no worse than getting a little bit of shampoo in your eye.
- Once your eyes have been anaesthetised your surgeon then has to access the inner layers of your cornea (outer part of your eye). The way in which he/she does this is different depending on whether you are having Lasik or Lasek. During this process, you will feel no pain at all and at most some people report a feeling of mild pressure on their eyes.
- Throughout the procedure, you will be asked to fixate on a light to help keep your eyes in the right place. Do not worry if your eyes move slightly as modern laser technology has ways of tracking your eye movement so they can take this in to account.
- The actual lasering of the eye only lasts a maximum of one and a half minutes and for most people, it is less than a minute. The higher your prescription the longer the laser is applied for. For every one dioptre of prescription, your eye will be lasered for roughly 10 seconds. Or put another way, if your prescription is -5.00 then you will be lasered for 50 seconds. There is no pain at all during the laser application and contrary to what some people have heard there is no smell of burning corneal tissue.
- Your eyes are kept sterile throughout the entire procedure and your surgeon will apply antibiotic eye drops to reduce the risk of infection.
- Both eyes are done on the same visit, typically doing the right eye first followed by the left.
- Once the procedure had been completed more eye drops will be instilled to minimise the chance of getting an infection.
- After the procedure, most people can go home pretty much straight away. You will need someone to drive you home and it is advisable that you wear sunglasses as your eyes will be extremely light sensitive.
- Your aftercare will begin the next day and your surgeon will set out a series of aftercare appointments for the next 6 months. You will typically be given eye drops to put in yourself to help your eyes heal and to prevent any infection. The laser eye surgery recovery is different depending on which procedure you have had. Click here to read about the Lasik recovery and here for Lasek.