There are several things that will happen prior to surgery. Your doctor will perform a full eye exam and ask for your eye history to make sure your prescription has been stable for at least one year. During this examination, the doctor will determine whether you are a good candidate. In the days and weeks leading up to the procedure, patients will need to follow certain guidelines to properly and to ensure the best chance for success.
Pre-LASIK Eye Examination
Prior to surgery, your surgeon will perform a comprehensive eye exam to ensure that you are a good candidate for treatment. During this exam, a map of your eye will be created. This map will be used during the LASIK procedure so a precise amount of corneal tissue is removed, providing you with the clearest visual results possible. The pre-LASIK vision correction evaluation should include:
- Dilated exam to check for ocular irregularities
- Refractive error measurement
- Pupil and corneal thickness measurements
- Corneal topography map
- Tear function analysis
- Discussion of medical history, lifestyle, and expectations
This evaluation determines if the patient’s eye curvature is suitable for the procedure. If not, the surgery could result in tear problems or unstable vision. Additionally, the evaluation measures tear production. The eyes naturally produce fewer tears as we age and LASIK always causes temporary dryness. If a prospective patient has naturally dry eyes, LASIK vision correction may not a suitable option.
Tips – Preparing
After determining whether a patient is a good candidate, the ophthalmologist will thoroughly discuss benefits and possible complications. Your laser eye surgeon will then review an individualized treatment plan, including what to do in the days and weeks prior to the procedure. Generally, patients should follow the guidelines below:
The Weeks Prior to Surgery
Contact lenses should not be worn in the weeks prior to surgery. This is because the success of LASIK is dependent on accurately measuring the shape and curvature of your cornea, which can be affected by lenses. A period of time without contacts restores your cornea to its natural shape. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients adhere to the following guidelines:
- Soft contact lenses should not be worn for at least two weeks prior to surgery
- Gas permeable contact lenses should not be worn for at least three weeks prior to surgery
- Hard contact lenses should not be worn for at least four weeks prior to surgery
Following these standards will ensure that your refractive error is measured properly, resulting in an optimal surgery recovery period and superior vision correction.
The Day Before Surgery
On the day before surgery, patients should stop using any makeup, lotions, perfumes, or creams that may cause debris to get into the eye. Patients should also arrange transportation for after the surgery as it may take several days to adjust to the change in their vision. Surgeons may request patients thoroughly wash their eyes to prevent any chance of infection.
The Day of Surgery
On the day of your surgery, eat a light meal before going to the eye surgeon and take any doctor-prescribed medications as normal. Do not wear any makeup or lotion, as they may increase the likelihood of infection. Also, do not wear any bulky accessories in your hair that may interfere with positioning your head under the laser. Patients’ eyes will be measured again before surgery and the surgeon will once again go through the procedure, making sure you have no additional questions or concerns. An anesthetic and any needed anti-anxiety medication will then be administered. If you are not feeling well the morning of your surgery, call the doctor’s office to determine if the procedure needs to be postponed.
Locate a Surgeon
If you are interested and would like to determine whether you are a candidate for laser surgery, or if you would like to know more about preparing for the LASIK procedure, find a LASIK eye surgeon in your area. DocShop’s online directory can help you locate an experienced, skilled refractive surgeon near you.