How do I know if I'm eligible for laser vision correction?
Your eye care practitioner can help you decide, but here are some general guidelines:
- You must have healthy eyes — no Glaucoma, infection, cataracts, severe dry eye or any
other condition that would affect postoperative healing.
- You must be an adult: age 21 or older (with some exceptions).
- Your vision must be stable for at least a year before surgery.
- If you're pregnant or nursing, your hormonal levels can affect the shape of your eye.
You'll need to wait until your hormones are back to normal levels.
- You cannot have a degenerative or autoimmune disease, since this would affect healing.
What happens on the day of treatment?
- LASIK and PRK are outpatient procedures, which means you'll spend a little over an
hour at the surgeon's office and walk out afterward. Someone else must drive you home,
because your vision will be a little blurry right after surgery.
- You will be given something to help you relax before you are taken to the LASIK suite.
- You'll then lie down on 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.
How long does LASIK take?
The laser treatment itself usually takes less than a minute, while the entire procedure
takes approximately 15 minutes per eye.
Does laser vision correction hurt?
You won't feel pain during LASIK or PRK, because your surgeon will place anesthetic eye
drops in your eye first. Afterward, he or she may prescribe 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.
Can I go back to work right away?
Most people who have LASIK return to work the next day. With PRK, many surgeons
recommend two or three days of rest instead.
When may I go back to wearing makeup?
You may resume wearing makeup the next day, just not EYE makeup. Wait about one week after
your surgery to resume wearing eye makeup; however, throw out your old eye makeup and buy
new to decrease your risk of infection.
What if time passes and I'm not seeing better?
A small number of patients see well after surgery then experience regression, a gradual
worsening of vision. If this happens, consult with your eye care practitioner to determine the
cause and to see if retreatment (enhancement) is appropriate.
I have more questions about LASIK. Who should I ask?
The absolute best source of information about LASIK is to talk to one of the LASIK surgeons at
The Eye Centers of Southeast Texas, LLP. All you have to do is make an appointment.
What should I avoid before my procedure?
There are a few restrictions before refractive surgical procedures. Since any contact lens wear can cause
subtle distortions to the shape of the eye, we recommend that you discontinue soft contact lens wear for
two weeks prior to both your exam and procedure. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) or hard (PMMA) contact
lens wear can cause dramatic molding to the shape in the eye. We recommend that you discontinue rigid
contact lens wear at least four weeks prior to both your exam and procedure. For patients who have
worn rigid contact lenses for many years, it may take months without rigid contact lens wear before the
shape of the eye begins to stabilize. However, in most cases it is possible to wear a soft contact lens as a
transition to stability.
To prevent infections, do not wear eye makeup the day of the procedure. One of the most important steps
is to begin using a topical antibiotic drop the day of your procedure. We will give you a prescription for
these drops on the day of your exam.