What happens in laser eye surgery?
First, we examine your eyes to ensure, without a doubt, that it’s safe for you to have LASIK
Second, we perform the treatment on a separate day (here you’ll find a step-by-step rundown)
Third, we check your eyes regularly during the post-operative period to ensure your safety and best visual outcome
What happens during the LASIK process?
THERE ARE THREE STAGES OF LASIK
The journey for a LASIK patient is similar across all laser vision correction centers. Where the LASIK process differs most is the depth of the pre- and post-operative phases, which we’ll include in our description here:
- During the pre-operative stage of the LASIK process, we’ll examine your eyes to see if you’re suitable for LASIK. We’ll make a treatment recommendation, discuss expectations, risks and possible side effects, and arrange a date and time for your surgery.
- On the day of the operation, you’ll have the laser eye surgery procedure.
- During the post-operative stage of the LASIK process, you’ll attend a series of check-ups to measure your results and enable us to observe your recovery.
Stage One – The Pre-operative stage
THE FIRST STAGE IN THE LASIK PROCESS IS DETERMINING IF IT’S SAFE FOR YOU TO HAVE LASIK
During the pre-operative stage of your patient journey, we’ll:
- invite you to attend our clinic for a LASIK screening
- understand the reasons you want treatment and uncover any concerns you might have
- examine your eyes to see if you’re suitable for LASIK or another procedure (e.g. surface treatment)
- make a definitive treatment recommendation
- discuss expectations, risks and possible side-effects
- if you are suitable for laser vision correction, arrange a date and time for your surgery and
- take a deposit to hold the treatment date and time
The first appointment is an opportunity for us to get to know each other
You’ll see our facilities, meet with our staff, learn about our technology, and be able to ask any questions you might have.
You’re welcome to bring friends and family to this first appointment. We’ll welcome them into the process.
Our aim during the first appointment is to measure and photograph your eyes to see if we can help you. We’ll perform a lot of tests and scans of your eyes so that we can get the most accurate and comprehensive picture of their condition.
You’ll also meet me, your surgeon. I will examine your eyes personally and confirm whether you are or are not suitable for a procedure.
What happens if you’re suitable?
If we can offer you a treatment, we’ll discuss the options and alternatives with you. If you agree with our recommendations, we’ll ask you to read a surgical information package and sign a consent form. You’ll be able to take these home to review at your convenience so you don’t feel rushed.
When you book your first appointment, we’ll give you some instructions on what to bring and how to prepare for your journey home. You can see a handy checklist that will help you prepare for this treatment as well.
Stage Two – The day of the operation
NOW WE’LL BREAKDOWN THE STEPS INVOLVED IN OUR MOST POPULAR PROCEDURE – BLADELESS CUSTOM LASIK
On the day of the operation, you’ll come to the clinic half an hour before your scheduled appointment begins.
At the start, the nurse will go over the post-operative drops and sunglasses that you’ll need for a little while after the procedure. Then, I’ll examine your eyes, and we’ll then lead you to the operating room.
What happens in the operating room
When you enter the operating room, we’ll ask you to lie down comfortably on the operating bed. I will likely be programming and calibrating the laser as you get settled. The nurse will give you a few simple instructions that I will repeat during the procedure.
I will clean your eyes and put a patch on the other so that you are not distracted, then we’ll get you situated under the microscope. I’ll place a lid holder to support your eyelids so that we can begin the operation.
First, I numb your eyes so you feel nothing
The first step of the operation involves anesthetizing your eyes and creating a corneal flap. You’ll remember that the cornea is the front window of the eye that performs most of the focusing work.
Once your eye is numb, I’ll lay a suction ring on the surface of your eye. Then I’ll use a foot pedal to activate a precisely controlled suction system to adhere the ring to the eye. Next, the applanation cone lowers down to dock with the suction ring. A second automated suction system engages which secures the application cone within the suction ring while applanation occurs.
The femtosecond laser eye creates the microscopically thin flap within 6 seconds. We don’t use a blade; we use a laser to create the flap. All you’ll feel is some pressure that’s created by the mild suction.
What if you blink?
You might, at this point, worry about blinking. Don’t, because the lid holder will prevent you from doing so. Your eyes won’t feel dry because the anesthetic will numb that feeling and we’ll be lubricating your eye throughout the procedure.
Once made, I’ll very gently lift the flap and turn it over on a hinge – a bit like opening a door. Don’t worry; you won’t feel a thing.
I’ll tell you to fixate your vision on a red light, and once we’re ready, I’ll start the laser. As the laser treats your eye, the nurse and I will be talking to you, telling you what to expect so that we don’t surprise you. It will be over before you know it.
You may worry that you won’t be able to keep your eyes fixated. Don’t worry; the laser has an eye tracker that will instantly shut it off if your eye position moves.
That’s it? It’s over?
When the laser stops treating (usually between 10 to 30 seconds later), I’ll lightly clean and rinse the treated area and then replace the flap, ensuring I reposition it perfectly. I then remove the lid holder.
It’s all over in (often much) less than a minute. Then, we’ll repeat the process in your second eye, if that’s what we planned.
After the procedure, I’ll ask you to sit up. I’ll examine your eyes immediately afterward, and then escort you to the darkened recovery room where I’ll ask you to close your eyes and relax in a comfortable chair.
Fifteen to twenty minutes later, you’ll be free to go.
Stage Three – The post-operative stage
OUR MOST IMPORTANT AIM DURING POST-OP STAGE OF THE LASIK PROCESS IS TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY AS YOU RECOVER
For the first day, I’ll encourage you to rest and sleep. You can typically drive and return to most jobs the next day.
I’ll want to see you the day after your procedure, three to four weeks after that, and then in three months.
At these visits, we’ll measure your visual acuity (how well you see) and ensure your eyes are recovering well from surgery.
Ask me anything
You’ll have ample opportunity during these visits to ask me about what you’re experiencing.
Usually, patients see very well the very next day after surgery. Some patients may require a little longer, depending on the treatment they had. The key things to remember during this stage are:
- follow all of my instructions with regards to drops and medications
- follow all of my instructions concerning what you can and can’t do after surgery
- don’t rub your eyes
And that’s it. You’ve had LASIK!