What to Expect
If you are a candidate, your first step is to come in for a complete eye exam. You must be free of contact lenses for at least one week for soft contacts and at least four weeks for hard lenses before your exam. During your exam we will carefully measure your prescription before and after we dilate your eyes and examine your eyes to make sure they are healthy. You will also have a scanning topography done to measure the shape, contour, and thickness of your corneas.
If you decide to have LASIK surgery, do not resume contact lens wear during the period between your pre-surgical exam and your surgery date.
It is normal to be a little nervous or anxious the day of your laser vision correction. We will "talk you through” the procedure beforehand and hold your hand during your treatment. We also give you the option of taking a mild sedative (Valium). Plan on being at our office about an hour and a half and bring a driver for your procedure. Most patients can drive themselves to the one day post operative exam. It usually takes 5 to 10 minutes to align and prepare your eyes in the laser room, although the actual laser treatment usually takes only 30 to 90 seconds. Laser vision correction is a painless procedure. Most patients have only mild burning or "scratchiness" afterwards.
We will want you to take a nap for four hours immediately after your laser vision correction to rest your eyes. You will be using antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for a week and frequent artificial teardrops for a couple of months. Most people experience some drying to their eyes, especially during prolonged reading or computer use, and artificial tears help alleviate this.
Recovery from laser vision correction is different from person to person. Your vision is not immediately clear. Most people notice improvement in vision each day for the first several days after surgery. Many people have a little more difficulty reading and seeing up close initially after their treatment. This improves after a few weeks, but if you’re over forty-something you’ll probably need glasses for reading.
Past the age of 40 to 45 everyone starts to need reading glasses or bifocals— laser vision correction will not prevent this. If you are over 40 and are accustomed to reading without glasses, you should know that once your nearsightedness is corrected it will be harder to see up close— much like when you wear your glasses or contacts now. Thus if you are over 40 something, you will need to wear readers to see up close. Some patients may still want to wear glasses for distance at times— for instance for night driving.