What you should expect on the day of your surgery will vary depending on the exact nature of your specific procedure. For all LASIK procedures, including the variations like Custom LASIK, your stay at the center will probably be about three hours long, even though the procedure itself does not take long to go through. A member of our team will discuss the procedure with you and take you through a few final pieces of paperwork. You will also receive a small pouch with any eye drops, protective shields and instructions that you will need following the surgery. Shortly after your arrival, your eyes will be numbed with a topical anesthetic.
During the procedure, a small device will be placed on your eyes to keep you from blinking, and another will be fixed to apply light suction to help to steady your eyes. You will experience slight pressure, but the discomfort is very minimal and there is no pain. You will lose vision temporarily at this point, but it will return after the surgeon has created the corneal flap.
Once the protective flap has been created and folded back, the surgeon will use the laser to gently reshape your cornea while you stare ahead at a blinking red light. Don't worry about involuntary eye movements affecting the procedure, because the laser is equipped with a sensitive tracking device to follow even the subtlest shifts. The entire procedure will only last a few minutes, and when it is completed the flap will be folded back into place, where it will bond with your eye without the need for stitches.
At this point, you will notice that your vision is hazy, but an immediate improvement can often be seen. You will be taken to another room to rest and get settled, and you will have the opportunity to call your driver and give him or her a 15-minute cushion if they are not waiting with you in the office. A doctor will join you shortly to discuss your immediate care instructions and to examine the precision of the corneal flap and the well-being of your eyes.
If everything is in order, you will be able to go home for the rest of the day. Clear plastic shields are affixed over your eyes, and these are to be worn for the remainder of the day, and again every night for the next two weeks. If possible, it is best to stay awake and continue to blink until your usual bedtime on the day of surgery, as this aids the moistening and healing of your eyes. You will also be given drops to apply to each corrected eye at particular intervals over several days after your surgery.
When you wake up the morning after your procedure, you should see a marked improvement in your vision. It will only continue to become clearer and sharper, so while it may not be perfect, most people can return to work that day, with their one-day follow-up visit usually taking place in the morning.
The LASIK procedure is the right answer for most patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. However, in patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness, the cornea may be too thin to allow full refractive correction.
In these cases, surgical implants may be the best alternative. These special devices are placed in the eyes to improve their focusing ability.