Laser eye surgery: what to expect and how to prepare


Laser eye surgery is becoming increasingly popular with those who have a problem with their vision. It is important that those who have decided that they want to have the surgery be prepared for what is involved.


What is laser eye surgery?

Laser eye surgery is used to treat vision problems such as nearsightedness, known as myopia, farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. It alters the shape of the cornea so that the light coming into the eye can focus in the right area and enable clearer vision. This is a procedure that can be completed in as little as 15 minutes and for most people there is no pain involved. Improved vision is noticeable within 24 hours for some patients. The only anesthetic required is drops for the eyes and you will not need bandages or stitches.


Preparing for laser eye surgery

When you are planning and preparing for eye surgery, your doctor will carry out a thorough examination of the eyes to ensure that there is no medical reason why the surgery should not be carried out. The doctor will also check the moistness of the eyes and may recommend another treatment to prevent the eyes becoming dry after the laser eye surgery. Details on your general health will also be taken, along with information on medications that you are using. It is also a good idea to enquire about Lasik surgery insurance to find out if you are going to be covered for the treatment.

The natural shape of the cornea can be altered by contact lenses, so in the lead-up to the surgery you will be advised to stop wearing contact lenses for a time. How long this will be for, will be determined by your doctor, although for most people it is a period of two weeks.

It is important that you ensure that your surgeon is experienced. You can talk to them about the number of procedures that they have carried out. If you have any questions about the surgery you need to make sure that you ask them, because you do need to be fully informed before you go ahead with it.


The procedure and the risks

The laser is positioned over the eyes and the eyes are held open by a piece of equipment called a lid speculum. The cornea is marked before the surgery is carried out to ensure that the treatment is carried out in the right place. Other measures are taken to stop the eye from moving.

It is estimated that less than 5% of those who undergo laser eye surgery suffer any complications afterwards. The possibility of dry eyes has already been mentioned, but other possible side effects include a “glare” effect when driving at night, that could last for a few months. It is very rare that a person would suffer severe loss of vision following a surgery like this.

Becoming fully aware of the details of laser eye surgery is essential. This is a procedure that can affect your life and it is not a decision that should be taken lightly, although it is one that can have a positive effect on your day-to-day living.