CONGRATULATIONS on your decision to undergo Laser Vision Correction. The following is an overview of what your experience is likely to be before, during, and after the laser treatment. I wish to provide you with this information in order to better prepare you for what may be the most valuable experience in your life: restoring your vision!
It is understandable to feel a little nervous or apprehensive when the time for your procedure arrives. You will likely feel excited, too. This mixed emotional response is completely normal. However, I will make every effort to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.
You may eat and drink whatever you want prior to the procedure. In addition, if you are on any medications, you may take them as you normally do. However, do not consume alcohol or take any sedative or similar medication that could make you drowsy before or during the procedure.
You will be staying in your street clothes, so be sure to wear something comfortable. Do not wear any facial or eye makeup, moisturizer, perfume, cologne, or aftershave. You were no longer supposed to wear contact lenses. If you did let me know as soon as you arrive at the center!
You are invited to bring a companion with you as you will not be allowed to drive after the procedure.
Please arrive on time for your scheduled appointment. I will review the consent with you which you will then sign. I will also measure your eyes one more time. If you extremely anxious and you request it a “Valium” will be provided. The procedure is performed under topical anesthesia, meaning that only numbing drops are required. The anxiety you may feel can actually prove beneficial because it will keep you alert so that you will be able to concentrate and follow my instructions during the procedure.
After all the pre-procedure medication eye drops have been administered, you will be taken to the laser room. You will be seated in the reclining procedure chair. At this point, the laser computer will be programmed with your prescribed correction, the chair will be adjusted to align the eye that is to be treated with the laser system, and all the instruments will be prepared. All information is checked and cross-checked for accuracy. This takes a few moments. Most patients undergo a bilateral procedure, in which case the right eye is treated first.
An iodine swab stick will be used to wipe the area around your eyes. Then an instrument called an eyelid speculum will be placed between your eyelids to prevent you from blinking.
At all times you should make every effort to keep your eyes from moving by staring at the red/orange light overhead. Occasionally, the light may become blurry as the procedure progresses. This is normal. Don’t worry I will be constantly monitoring you and coaching you during the procedure. Everybody worries and everybody ultimately does just fine.
A "ring" will be placed on your eye, after which you should feel a little pressure, and in the next moment the vision in that eye should get dark. Dr. Saimovici will then create a flap and remove the ring, returning the vision to your eye. If you are having i-LASIK then the procedure will be repeated for the second eye. The top layer of the cornea will be flapped over and then you will hear a clicking sound produced by the laser.
While the laser is in use you will be asked to keep your eyes as still as possible. Concentrate on keeping both eyes open and focus on the red fixation light. A small amount of eye movement will not affect the outcome of the procedure. However, the laser automatically tracks your eye and I can be stop it at any time during the procedure. Total laser time for most patients is less than 30 seconds per eye.
During the procedure, you will notice distinctive sounds and smells. For example, the laser makes a clicking or snapping noise whenever is in use. I will let you know before the treatment begins so that the noise will not startle you. At the end of the treatment, the flap is replaced. A few minutes later, several medication eye drops will be placed on the eye. The procedure will then be repeated for your other eye.
When the LASIK procedure is complete, you will be escorted back to the post-procedure room where you will be seated for a while to rest and recover.
Before you leave you will receive a Post Operative Kit containing the following:
Following the procedure you need to go home and rest. Your vision will be somewhat blurry and you should only open your eyes as little as possible. For the next day or two you should plan on taking it easy and avoid outdoors or extreme physical activities. You should also use your eye drops as instructed. Your eyes may water and you may experience some light sensitivity. All of this is normal and by next day you should feel much better and your vision will be very close to fully corrected. Of course everyone heals differently and will achieve their best vision over a different period of time.
Most patients elect to undergo their Laser Vision Correction on Thursday or Friday and I will examine you the next day. At that time I will give you further instructions on how to use the eye drops. By next day most people are able to drive but you should use your own judgment and drive only when you are certain that you will be able to.
Your vision will continue to improve. For many patients, stable, clear vision is achieved within 1-2 weeks. Some patients, especially those who have had severe nearsightedness corrected, may experience night glare after the procedure. Night glare generally disappears over time.
Avoid getting water and shampoo in your eyes while bathing or showering during the first week.
Do not use make-up or other cosmetics or moisturizers until I let you know that it is safe.
Refrain from driving until you are SURE your vision does not create a safety concern.
Do not swim or use hot tubs or whirlpools until you are instructed that you may do so, usually one month after the treatment.
Avoid any activities that could cause you to get dirt or dust in your eyes.
We, my staff and I, know how much you value your eyes and we are grateful that you have placed your trust in us. Rest assured that we are committed to providing you with the best possible care and the most advanced laser equipment and techniques. Achieving your most complete vision correction is our goal. We are proud of our results, and thousands of happy, satisfied patients are witnesses to our successful efforts. We sincerely hope that you will be one of them as well!