On the day of Laser Eye Surgery

Whether you are having LASIK, LASEK, PRK or another type of laser eye surgery, on the day of your surgery, you should check into the laser eye surgery clinic at your allotted time so the team know you are there. Your surgeon may wish to come and see you to make sure you are ok and answer any last minute questions you may have. The surgeon or a member of the team will take you to the laser vision suite and ask you to sit in a reclining chair. Depending on the clinic, they may wish to give you some tablets to help you relax. When you are comfortable, you will be given some eye drops to help to numb your eye so that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. When this has taken effect, you will be asked to lie down flat on your back, whilst your eye is washed. To prevent you from blinking during the operation, your eyelids are held open using a tool called an eyelid speculum. Once the surgeon is ready, they will place a little suction pad to the front of your eye. This may feel slightly uncomfortable, but it is necessary to prevent your eye from moving during the operation. When fixed, if you are having LASIK, the surgeon will use a microkeratome (a very thin blade), which they attach to the suction cup, to cut a flap in the cornea. This may be quite noisy as the blade vibrates to help it cut accurately.

Once the suction cup and microkeratome have been removed, the flap in your cornea will be peeled back, at which point you will only be able to see blurry light. Don’t worry as this is a normal part of the procedure. After the area is dried, the machine that houses the laser will be put in front of you - it looks like a big version of a microscope. The surgeon will then ask you to look at a coloured light (this isn’t the laser) so that your eye is fixed in one position. They can then begin to reshape your cornea, during which time you will hear a clicking noise, which is just the laser working. You may notice a strange smell that occurs when the cornea is being vaporised by the laser. The procedure only takes around half an hour, after which time a shield will be taped over the front of your eye to help it heal. The actual laser only takes a few minutes, to reshape the cornea.

Following the procedure, you may experience a number of different feelings and your vision may still be poor for a while. To ensure you are prepared for the procedure, you should know what is likely to happen following the surgery. This information is covered in the next article.

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