Considering Laser Eye Surgery

Each eye surgery and each patient is unique. In spite of this, there are a number of universal tips that can help patients better prepare for eye surgery and speed their recovery time.

First and foremost,
 Take the extra time you need to find a reputable surgeon with extensive experience in your type of surgery.
o Finding the right doctor is the critical first step in the surgery process. Your eye surgery will only be successful if it is performed by a qualified medical professional. Selecting a doctor based on cost alone is rarely a good move, since surgeons offering cheaper solutions usually do so because they are inexperienced in performing that type of surgery. Keep in mind that should complications arise, you want someone who knows how to quickly and effectively deal with the situation and minimize any damage to your eye.

 Thoroughly research the procedure you will be undergoing before signing any consent forms.
o This includes taking the time to ask your surgeon any questions you may have about the procedure. A good doctor will take the time to answer all of your questions, as well as inform you of any potential risks and side-effects of the surgery. Take advantage of this and be sure you are fully comfortable with the procedure before you agree to undergo the surgery.

 Follow all of the pre-operative procedures recommended by your doctor.
o Your surgeon may advise you to avoid certain medications, foods, or activities (such as smoking and drinking alcohol) before undergoing eye surgery. These restrictions are put in place to ensure your eyes are in good condition for the procedure, giving you the best possible chance for a successful surgery and a quick recovery period. Failure to abide by these restrictions may put your health and the success of your surgery at risk.

 Stop wearing contact lenses in advance of the surgery, as directed by your doctor.
o Since contact lens rest directly on your eye, they exert pressure on the cornea and can actually change the shape of your eye. This is an importance consideration for individuals undergoing eye surgery, especially patients of refractive eye surgery to correct their vision. In order for the procedure to be successful, it is necessary to pinpoint those regions of the eye that need to be treated. If your eye is not in its normal natural shape or state, any attempts to correct visual impairments will not be successful. For this reason, surgeons will request that many eye surgery patients stop wearing contact lenses anywhere from two to four weeks prior to the procedure.

 Get a good night’s sleep the night before the surgery.
o A well-rested patient is less likely to be unduly anxious and will recover more quickly than someone who is stressed and suffering from lack of sleep. Remember – adequate sleep is necessary to stay healthy.

 Make arrangements to have someone you trust drive you home from the surgery.
o Your vision will be blurry and you may be under the effects of a sedative after undergoing your eye surgery. Regardless of the type and extent of the procedure, patients are in no condition to drive immediately after the surgery. Ensure your safety and well-being by arranging for a ride home in advance.

 Know what side-effects you may experience before undergoing the procedure
o Inquire about potential side-effects and make sure you know what to expect during the recovery period before you go in for the procedure. On your surgery day, you will likely be distracted and anxious and will not retain much information. It’s important to know what to look out for after your surgery so you can catch any potential problems immediately, before they can cause significant damage and jeopardize your health.

 Call your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual side-effects
o If you experience anything unusual or are concerned about how you are recovering from your procedure, contact your doctor immediately. Refer to the potential side-effects of the procedure as discussed above, and use these as your guidelines for what is normal and to be expected. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and call your doctor – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 Take all medication as prescribed.
o The medication prescribed by your surgeon is designed to speed the healing process and protect your eye from adverse side effects. Therefore, it is imperative that you take all medication as prescribed.

 Avoid touching, rubbing, or bumping your eye while it is healing.
o Any direct contact with your eye while it is healing can result in damage to the eye and may result in severe complications. Wearing an eye shield as needed, especially while you are sleeping, can help you avoid unnecessary contact with your eye.

 Avoid makeup, lotions, and creams while your eye is healing.
o These items can interfere with the eye’s natural healing ability and prolong your recovery period.

 Stay away from medications that can interfere with your body’s natural healing process, such as steroids
o Some medications can prevent your eye from properly healing and delay the recovery process.

And last, but not least
 Give yourself time to recover from the surgery before jumping back into your busy life
o Keep in mind that you are recovering from an invasive procedure. It will take some time before you start feeling like your normal self. Taking it easy for a few days will enable your body to rest and heal faster than it will if you subject it to undue stress.