FAQs on Laser Eye Surgery

In association with an Ophthalmologist, we answer some of the most Frequently Asked Laser Eye Surgery Questions.

 

DISCLAIMER: Always follow the advice of your medical professional.

Is laser eye surgery painful?


You won't feel pain during LASIK or PRK, because we will place anesthetic eye drops in your eye first. Afterwards, you may be prescribed pain medication if necessary. Many LASIK patients report no more than mild discomfort for a day or so after surgery. There is more discomfort after PRK because the procedure exposes the deeper layers of the cornea. For clear and comfortable vision after PRK, protective surface cells have to grow back over the treated area. This process can take a week or two, sometimes longer. It must be noted however that there will be a slight pressure sensation when a suction ring is applied to the eye before the actual surgery commences. This slight pressure should only last for about 30 seconds. For 2 – 3 hours after surgery the eyes might be a little teary and scratchy, but this is a normal sensation and will clear.




Will I still need glasses after LASIK or PRK?


While most people see very clearly without glasses after laser vision correction, you still might need or desire corrective lenses for certain activities (driving at night, for example) if you have mild residual refractive error after surgery. If you're over age 40 and have signs of presbyopia, eyeglasses with progressive lenses will give you clear vision at all distances and also shield your eyes from dust, debris and drying wind or air conditioning. Whatever type of glasses you choose to wear after LASIK or PRK (including reading glasses), you will experience the best clarity and comfort if the lenses include anti-reflective coating. Ask your optician for details. The good news is that myopia (short-sightedness) eye surgery has a 95% chance of ensuring that glasses will not have to be used again. This does however mean that there is a 5% chance a second operation will be needed to further focus they eye. If a patient is suffering from myopia which is higher than -7D, the chances of not having to use glasses again after the operation reduces to 85%. Generally, when we start reaching the ages of 43 – 46 we will need to use reading glasses - this is a normal aging problem.




How long after LASIK eye surgery can I see again?


Almost immediately after the LASIK eye surgery there will be a marked improvement in the patient’s vision. To assist with recovery transparent patches will be placed over the patient’s eyes which will only be removed the following morning. At this point, in most instances, once these patches are removed the patient will now have normal vision.




What is laser vision correction (laser refractive eye surgery)?


Everybody has the desire for a clear and sharp vision. Many people, however, do not have perfect vision, they are either nearsighted or farsighted or have astigmatism. These common eye conditions are what we call refractive errors. An eye surgeon can correct these refractive errors by using a laser to reshape the cornea so that light is properly focused onto the retina in order to improve vision without glasses and contact lenses. Laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure that uses a cool (non-thermal) beam of light to gently reshape the cornea — the surface of the eye — to improve vision. The laser removes microscopic bits of tissue to flatten the cornea (to correct nearsightedness), steepen the cornea (to correct farsightedness) and/or smooth out corneal irregularities (to correct astigmatism). The goal of laser eye surgery is to change the shape the cornea so it does a better job of focusing images onto the retina for sharper vision. LASIK and PRK (LASEK) are two types of laser vision correction. Learn more abour laser eye surgery by looking at our page here.




Is LASIK or PRK (LASEK) safe?


LASIK and PRK is proven to be safe and effective. Laser vision correction uses a cool (non-thermal) beam of light that is computer controlled. The surgeon turns the laser on and is able to turn it off at any moment. Many safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of error. However, risks are associated with any surgical procedure. Although no one knows the exact number of complications, studies suggest that the incidence of minor difficulties such as dry eyes and nighttime glare is around 3 percent to 5 percent, while the risk of serious incidents such as lost vision is thought to be less than 1 percent. There are no known cases of blindness from LASIK or PRK. Again, outcomes generally are very good.




Can I have both eyes done at the same time?


Most surgeons perform a LASIK procedure on both eyes at the same time. However, because it takes longer for clear, comfortable vision after PRK, many surgeons will wait a week or two between eyes for PRK.




How long does laser eye surgery take?


The laser treatment itself usually takes less than a minute, while the entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes per eye.
LASIK and PRK are outpatient procedures, which means you'll spend around an hour at our rooms and walk out afterwards. Someone else must drive you home, because your vision will be a little blurry right after surgery.




How do I know if I'm eligible for laser eye surgery?


Our team will assess you, but here are some general guidelines: 1) You must have healthy eyes — no infection or any other condition that would affect the post operative healing. 2) Your vision must be stable for at least a year before surgery. 3) If you are nursing, your hormonal levels can affect the shape of your eye. You'll need to wait until your hormones are back to normal levels. 4) You cannot have a degenerative or autoimmune disease, since this would affect healing.




What happens before laser eye surgery?


A Ophtalmologist will give you a thorough eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and you're a suitable candidate for laser surgery. The Dr. will test for glaucoma, cataracts and other disqualifying conditions. The doctor will use a machine called a corneal topographer to photograph and electronically map your eye. They will then will use this map to plan your surgery for the most precise results possible. Watch our explanation video here.




What happens on the day?


LASIK and PRK are outpatient procedures, which means you'll spend around an hour at our rooms and walk out afterwards. Someone else must drive you home, because your vision will be a little blurry right after surgery. You'll lie down in a reclining chair. The surgeon will place anesthetic drops in your eye, position your head under the laser and place an eyelid speculum (retainer) under your lids to hold your eye wide open. In LASIK, the surgeon creates a thin flap in the top of the cornea, folds it back out of the way, uses the laser to remove some corneal tissue and then puts the flap back in place. If you're having PRK, no flap is created: The laser simply removes the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium), which grows back after surgery. Watch our explanation video here on what happens on the day of your surgery.




What happens afterwards?


The surgeon will place eye drops or ointment in your eye. You may relax for a little while then go home and rest. You'll probably notice clearer vision immediately, and typically it will improve even more as the weeks go by. Watch our explanation video here.




When may I drive again, wear make-up or go back to work?


Driving: You may begin driving as soon as you see well enough, excluding the day you had LASIK or PRK performed. Wearing make-up: You may resume wearing makeup about one week after your surgery. However, throw out your old makeup to decrease your risk of infection. Going back to work: Most people who have LASIK return to work the next day. With PRK, many surgeons recommend two to three days of rest instead.




Are there any side effects?


Some people experience dry eye after LASIK, which is usually relieved with eye drops and disappears over time. Others may experience starbursts or halos around lights, especially at night. Usually this effect lessens or disappears over time, too.




How many checkups will I need after LASIK?


You will probably return the next day, then one week or one month later and then three months later. Your doctor will let you know if more visits are necessary and on which dates.




I have more questions about laser eye surgery. Who should I ask?


The absolute best source of information about laser eye surgery is the surgeon. All you have to do is ask us for a referral.