Before Surgery

If you wear contact lenses, it is a good idea to stop wearing them before your baseline evaluation and switch to wearing your glasses full-time.

Soft contact lenses:
You should stop wearing them for 2 weeks before your initial evaluation.

Toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses:
You should stop wearing them for at least 3 weeks before your initial evaluation.

Hard lenses:
You should stop wearing them for at least 4 weeks before your initial evaluation
We will ask you about:
• Your past and present medical and eye conditions
• Medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and any medications you may be allergic to

We will perform a thorough eye exam and discuss:
• Whether you are a good candidate
• What the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery are
• What you should expect before, during, and after surgery
 What your responsibilities will be before, during, and after surgery

The day before surgery, you should stop using:
• Creams
• Lotions
• Makeup
• Perfumes
These products as well as debris along the eyelashes may increase the risk of infection during and after surgery. On the day of surgery, you may be given medicine to help you relax. Because this medicine impairs your ability to drive and because your vision may be blurry, make sure someone can bring you home after surgery.

During Surgery

The surgery should take less than 20 minutes. You will be positioned comfortably on a bed in the operating suite containing the laser system. The laser system includes a large machine with a microscope attached to it and a computer screen.

A numbing drop will be placed in your eye, the area around your eye will be cleaned, and an instrument called a lid speculum will be used to hold your eyelids open. A ring will be placed on your eye and very high pressures will be applied to create suction to the cornea. Your vision will dim while the suction ring is on and you may feel the pressure and experience some discomfort during this part of the procedure. The microkeratome, the instrument which creates the flap in your cornea, is attached to the suction ring.

The microkeratome and the suction ring are then removed. You will be able to see, but you will experience fluctuating degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. We will then lift the flap & fold it back on its hinge, and dry the exposed tissue

The laser will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked to stare at a light. This is not the laser used to remove tissue from the cornea. This light is to help you keep your eye fixed on one spot once the laser comes on.

When your eye is in the correct position, we will start the laser. At this point in the surgery, you may become aware of new sounds and smells. The pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound. A computer controls the amount of laser delivered to your eye. After the pulses of laser energy vaporize the corneal tissue, the flap is put back into position.

A shield will be placed over your eye at the end of the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold the flap in place. It is important for you to wear this shield to prevent you from rubbing your eye and putting pressure on your eye while you sleep, and to protect your eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.

After Surgery

Immediately after the procedure, your eye may burn, itch, or feel like there is something in it. You may experience some discomfort, and you may be instructed to take a mild pain reliever. Both of your eyes may tear or water. Your vision may be temporarily hazy or blurry. You will instinctively want to rub your eye, but don't! Rubbing your eye could dislodge the flap, requiring further treatment. In addition, you may experience a temporary mild sensitivity to light.

These symptoms will improve considerably within the first few days after surgery.

At the first postoperative visit, (typically the next day) the eye shield will be removed , your vision tested, and your eyes examined. You may be given one or more types of eye drops to take at home to help prevent infection or inflammation. You may also be advised to use artificial tears to help lubricate the eye. Do not resume wearing a contact lens in the operated eye, even if your vision is blurry.

You should wait one to three days following surgery before beginning any non-contact sports, depending on the amount of activity required, how you feel, and your instructions, based upon our evaluation of your surgery and your lifestyle.

To help prevent infection, you may need to wait for up to two weeks after surgery or until advised otherwise before using lotions, creams, or make-up around the eye. You should also avoid swimming and using hot tubs or whirlpools for 1-2 months

Strenuous contact sports such as boxing, football, karate, etc. should not be attempted for at least four weeks after surgery. It is important to protect your eyes from anything that might get in them and from being hit or bumped.

During the first few months after surgery, your vision may fluctuate slightly. It may take three to six months for your vision to stabilize after surgery. Other visual symptoms may also persist during this stabilization period.