The fear of the unknown. Sometimes, it's worse than reality, especially when it comes to getting LASIK surgery. Friends and family can tell you how painless it is, and your doctor can show you the medical instruments, but until you know every detail, that tiny bit of uncertainty remains.
That's why we'll walk you though the entire process here, explaining what you'll feel, and why you'll be feeling it.
First Things First
Once your doctor has determined you're a good candidate for the procedure, you'll have questions. This is normal. When you're with your doctor, let him know your questions and concerns. Be sure to inform him of all medications you're taking, and list any allergies. He will explain the benefits, risks and alternatives to LASIK surgery, so that you're confident in your decision. Included will be a brief introduction to the best technology, and how it lowers your risk.
Most importantly, he'll explain the procedure from the beginning to the end:
- First, you'll relax. You will be offered a mild sedative to help with anxiety.
- Cleansing drops and numbing drops will be put in each eye to prepare for the procedure.
- Your eyes will be held open with a tiny instrument to prevent you from blinking.
- After you recline in the LASIK suite a small ring will be placed on your eye to stabilize your cornea. You'll feel a little pressure during this part, but no pain.
- A special laser will be placed on the ring and used to create a hinged flap. The flap will be lifted to enable the vision correction laser to access the cornea.
- You'll be asked to focus on a light, but remember, this light is not the laser that is changing your cornea's tissue. It's just a light to focus on to keep your eye still.
- The laser has an eye tracker to follow any slight movements during the process, to deliver the treatment to the exact area of the eye needed.
- Your doctor's laser will re-shape your cornea, improving your vision within a few seconds. Then the flap is then smoothed back in place.
- Once your procedure is completed you will be given some clear, padded goggles to wear to protect your eyes during the first night and while napping or sleeping for a couple of days.
- You will also get a postoperative care kit that has everything you'll need to keep your eyes hydrated and happy as they heal. You will also receive post op instructions on how to care for your eyes during your healing process.
Your follow-up care will be discussed as well, and you will have your post op appointment schedule. Most patients are seen by the doctor, the following day. Then, at about a week, at about a month and at about three months after surgery.
Preparing yourself physically should be simple. Just follow your doctor's orders regarding contact lens wear, staying hydrated, avoiding perfumes, thoroughly cleaning your face, especially around the eye area and getting a good night's sleep the night before your procedure.
If you're still feeling squeamish, here are a few exercises you can do to prepare yourself mentally.
- First, if you think it will help, watch a video that shows the steps mentioned earlier.
- Choose a spot to fix your eyes upon, like the period at the end of this sentence. Can you stare at it for about 30 seconds? Time yourself, and imagine distractions like the buzzing of medical instruments and that feeling of pressure described. Can you stay focused on that dot throughout the example distractions? This won't be much unlike your experience on the day of your eye surgery.
- To get an idea of what "pressure" means as a descriptive sensation, try this exercise: With your eye closed, touch your eyelid so that you can feel the eyeball underneath. Focus your sense of touch not on your finger but on the eye. Apply slight pressure for two seconds, and use no more pressure than you'd use to check the ripeness of a tomato, for example, so that you cannot hurt the eye. Notice how it feels? Not at all painful, just a little pressure.
The fear of the unknown can be diminished with facts. If questions come up while you're away from your doctor, write them down and phone, or ask at your next appointment.
Would you like to talk to someone here at Woodhams about LASIK? Enter your information below and one of our patient care advocates will reach out to you or you can call us at 770-394-4000.
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