If you are considering LASIK, then you have undoubtedly researched its potential benefits. However, you may still be nervous about the procedure. Below are nine questions to ask before undergoing the procedure to help put your mind at ease.
1. Does LASIK hurt?
Most patients experience little to no discomfort during LASIK because anesthetic (numbing) drops are administered prior to the procedure. As a result, patients feel only slight pressure while the laser reshapes the cornea.
2. What happens during the procedure?
After applying numbing drops to your eyes, the doctor makes a very thin flap in the surface of your cornea. She then uses a laser to shape the underlying cornea according to your specific prescription. Next, the doctor gently puts the flap back in place and repeats the procedure on the other eye. It’s important to note that premium LASIK providers perform all-laser procedures, using lasers to both create the flap and shape the cornea. Other providers use a thin blade to create the flap.
3. Can LASIK be performed on both eyes at the same time?
Since visual improvement is almost immediate, and the healing time is minimal, LASIK is performed on both eyes during the same procedure. Each eye is done separately, with the laser being used for less than 60 seconds per eye. If the patient prefers to have one eye done at a time, it is certainly possible, but it is rare for patients to take this route.
4. Is anesthesia used during the procedure?
As mentioned above, numbing eye drops are administered prior to the procedure. Sometimes an oral medication may be given to help patients stay relaxed and calm during the procedure. No needles or intravenous drugs are required during LASIK.
5. How long does LASIK take?
Most patients are surprised at how quickly the procedure is completed. LASIK takes less than 15 minutes once the patient is in the treatment room, but the laser is used for less than 60 seconds per eye.
6. What if I blink or move my eye during the procedure?
Your surgeon will use a small speculum to hold your eyelids open during the procedure; so blinking is not a concern. Some patients experience slight pressure from the speculum. You will focus on a blinking light during the procedure. Uncontrollable movements of the eye are expected, and the advanced lasers used for LASIK include an eye tracker, which follows these movements to ensure the accurate delivery of laser pulses.
7. Will my eyes hurt after the procedure?
Most patients experience minimal discomfort during and after LASIK. For a few days following the procedure, you may experience a little watering of the eyes, light sensitivity or dryness. This is part of the normal healing process. Medicated eye drops are generally used for a week following your treatment, and artificial tears may be recommended to help you manage any dryness. *
8. Will I be able to see right after the procedure?
Most LASIK patients notice an immediate improvement of their vision following the procedure. Naturally, you will experience some intermittent blurriness immediately after the procedure, but this usually clears up within a few hours. *
9. Are there side effects from LASIK?
Some LASIK patients temporarily experience dry eyes following the procedure, which are remedied through the use of over-the-counter artificial tears. Other side effects, although rare, include:
- Fluctuating vision
- Difficulty with night driving due to halos
- Light sensitivity
A caring, experienced LASIK professional will take time to answer these nine questions and any additional questions you may have.
*Please note: Patients who undergo a photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure generally experience more discomfort, and their vision takes longer to stabilize, than patients who undergo a LASIK procedure.