What to expect from PRK surgery

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. We 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, we 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. Do not wear contact lenses.

You are invited to bring a companion with you. If you choose, your companion may stay with you during the entire procedure.

The Procedure

Please arrive on time for your scheduled appointment. You will begin receiving medication eye drops to numb the eyes about 30 minutes prior to the procedure. You will not receive any injections or general anesthetic. 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 Dr. Saimovici's instructions during the procedure.

What Happens 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 and the chair will be adjusted to align the eye that is to be treated with the laser system. 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 always treated first.

An instrument called an eyelid speculum will then be placed between your eyelids to prevent you from blinking.

Dr. Saimovici will let you know when he is ready to activate the laser and begin the treatment. At all times you should make every effort to keep your eyes from moving by staring at the red fixation light overhead. Occasionally, the light may become blurry as the procedure progresses. This is normal.

The laser will then be activated and you will hear the 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 light. A small amount of eye movement will not typically affect the outcome of the procedure. However, the laser can be stopped at any time during the procedure. Total laser time for most patients is less than one minute per eye.

During the procedure, you will notice distinctive sounds and smells. For example, the laser makes a clicking or snapping noise whenever the laser is in use. Dr. Saimovici will let you know before the treatment begins so that the noise will not startle you. At the end of the laser treatment a special contact lens will be placed on your eye, as well as several medication eye drops. The procedure will then be repeated for your other eye.

What Happens Right After The Procedure

When the laser procedure is complete, you will be escorted back to the post-procedure room. You will have more eye drops placed in your eyes.

The soft contact lenses that are placed on your eyes minimize discomfort after the procedure. They will remain in your eyes for 2-4 days. Dr. Saimovici will remove them during your visit to the office. Do not remove the lenses yourself. If the lenses should dislodge and/or come out, please call us right away.

Before you leave you will receive a Post Operative Kit containing the following:

  • Anti-Inflammatory (i.e. Lotemax) ophthalmic drops - these are to be taken four times daily, one drop in each eye.
  • Antibiotic (i.e. Ocuflox) ophthalmic drops – these are to be taken four times daily, one drop in each eye.
  • Analgesic (pain killer) (i.e. Acular or Voltaren) ophthalmic drops – these are to be taken ONLY if experiencing severe discomfort or pain and can not be taken more than every 2-3 hours, up to six times a day, with one drop per eye.
  • Artificial tears (i.e. Refresh) – use these drops freely, as needed for comfort.
  • UV Shields – to be used when outside, for protection against dirt, dust, and debris.
  • Prescription for oral pain killers – Tylenol #3, one to two tablets every 3-4 hours as needed.

Follow-Up Expectations And Care

Follow the procedure plan to rest as much as possible during the next 2-3 days while the epithelium is healing and the contact lenses are in your eyes. You should also use your eye drops as instructed. Your eyes may water, sometimes excessively, and you may start feeling some discomfort 30 to 90 minutes after the procedure as the anesthetic drops wear off. You, like most patients, may experience mild discomfort for a few days. However, patient reactions range from no discomfort to moderate pain. Discomfort is described as the sensation of having something underneath a contact lens or of having an eyelash or sand in the eyes. You may also experience a gritty sensation, an increased sensitivity to light, and/or redness. Take your eye drops as instructed above. You can also ease these symptoms by placing a cool cloth over your eyes and resting in a darkened room; however, take care to avoid getting water in your eyes.

The day after the procedure, continue using your eye drops as instructed. Your vision will probably be blurry, but for most people vision will be better than prior the procedure without glasses. Continue to rest as much as possible.

It is not unusual for your vision to remain blurry for the second day following the procedure. Vision generally starts to improve once the epithelium, or "skin," of your cornea has grown back, which in most cases takes 2-3 days.

Most patients elect to undergo their Laser Vision Correction on a Friday so that they can rest and recuperate during the weekend. In this case, the first office visit following the procedure is on Monday.

At the time of your office visit following the procedure, your eyes will be examined by Dr. Saimovici. By then, most likely your corneas have healed and the contact lenses will be removed. Your vision may still be slightly blurry, but it will continue to improve. At this point you will be taking only one eye medication (i.e. Lotemax) and an artificial tear (i.e. Refresh). By now your vision should be good enough for you to function on your own. You should refrain from driving until your vision is sufficiently restored to make driving safe.

What Happens In The Coming Weeks

Your vision will continue to improve. For many patients, stable, clear vision is achieved within 2-3 weeks. However, a few patients may take six months, or longer, to achieve their best vision.

Some patients, especially those who have had severe nearsightedness corrected, may experience night glare after the procedure. Night glare generally disappears over time.

Activity Restrictions

Avoid getting water and shampoo in your eyes while bathing or showering during the first week.
Do NOT drive for the first 2-3 days. Thereafter, 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 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 hundreds of happy, satisfied patients are witnesses to our successful efforts. We sincerely hope that you will be one of them as well!

Dr. Saimovici

NEW YORK: 800 Second Ave. @ 42nd St. (646)862-7022   White Plains: 61 Maple Ave (914)356-8424  

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