Before feeling confident enough to go ahead and have Lasek surgery, people generally want to know exactly what to expect during the procedure. People hear all sorts of things and more often than not, what they have heard is simply not true. For example one of the biggest things that puts people off having Lasek eye surgery is the thought of having an injection in your eye. There are however no injections involved in the procedure at all! Your eyes are instead numbed using eye drops, which cause a mild stinging of your eyes which lasts for no more than 20 seconds.
Before you will be put forward to have the surgery you will first need to have a consultation to check you are suitable.
- Your prescription: This is similar to what happens during a normal eye test, although you are more than likely to have cycloplegic eye drops instilled. These eye drops help to relax the muscles within your eyes which enables the optometrist/surgeon to get an even more accurate measurement of your prescription. These drops cause your vision to be slightly blurred and hence you are advised not to drive to the appointment and generally not to drive for the rest of the day.
- Pupil size: It is extremely important to check pupil size and it is especially important to assess this at low light levels. People with large pupils are more likely to have night vision problems following surgery and if this is the case your surgeon may suggest wavefront treatment. For more information on this issue, you may find the following guide helpful: How are night vision problems and laser eye surgery related?
- Corneal thickness: In order to have Lasek eye surgery your cornea needs to be of a certain thickness. Compared with Lasik, Lasek surgery can be carried out on much thinner corneas.
- Corneal integrity and topography (curvature): Your cornea is the part of your eye that is lasered during the surgery and it is therefore important to check that it is healthy and of a regular shape.
- Night vision problems: Your night vision aberrations are measured using a Wavescan machine which assesses your current level of night time blurriness. If it is over a certain level, then you may be advised to have Wavefront Lasek surgery.
- Dryness of eyes: Lasek eye surgery will normally result in dry eyes after surgery, although it is generally less of a problem than following Lasik. This typically disappears within 6 months of surgery and dry eye drops are normally prescribed during this period. If you already have dry eyes your surgeon may be reluctant to treat you but this is something that will be discussed during a consultation. To read more about this issue check out the following guide: Dry eyes following laser eye surgery
- General Health of your eyes: It is vitally important to check your eyes are healthy prior to surgery.
Assuming you are suitable you will be booked for your Lasek eye surgery.
What To Expect On The Day of Surgery:
- Before you have the actual treatment you will most likely have a pre-surgery consultation with your surgeon. The surgeon will ensure that you fully understand the surgery and know what to expect and that you are happy to proceed. He/she may well take a few final measurements to double-check everything is ok. After this, you are ready for surgery. Your surgery will be as follows:
- Anaesthetic eye drops and an Alcohol solution are first applied to your eye. The alcohol solution softens the surface layers of your cornea (epithelium).
- A small clip is used to ensure your eyes are kept open so you do not blink during the procedure.
- The epithelial layer (outer layer of your cornea) is gently loosened and moved to one side by the surgeon whilst you fixate at a target light.
- The Lasek laser is then applied to the inner layers of the cornea for any time up to one and a half minutes depending on your exact prescription requirements. The higher your prescription the longer the laser will be applied for. The laser is typically applied for 10 seconds for every dioptre of your prescription. This means if your prescription is -3.00 then it will be 30 seconds.
- The surgeon then gently replaces the surface corneal layer (epithelium) back to its natural position and then smooths it over.
- A bandage contact lens is placed on to the eye in order to protect it.
- The procedure typically takes 20 minutes to treat both eyes.
- You can then begin your Lasek recovery. You can read exactly what to expect during the recovery period in this helpful recovery guide.