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Laser Eye Surgery - All You Should Know About It

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Laser eye surgery has been gaining popularity for over two decades, ever since it was patented and introduced to the general population as a way of treating some of the most common eye issues safely and effectively.  

However, although it’s been around for a while now, it’s still unclear to many people how it’s performed, how you should prepare for it or what to do during the post-surgical period. So, in order to clarify things a bit, here is the information you need if you’re considering laser eye surgery.

Am I a good candidate for laser eye surgery?

One important thing you should know is that not all eye conditions can be treated with laser eye surgery. Those which can include nearsightedness, farsightedness, cataract, and astigmatism. If you have another kind of condition, talk to your ophthalmologist and get all the information from them. 

Also, not all patients can have laser eye surgery and each patient gets thoroughly evaluated before the procedure. Some requirements are that the patient’s prescription hasn’t changed for a year or longer and that they have a good eye and overall health. 

Patients with diabetes, lupus, HIV and even rheumatoid arthritis might be denied surgery since these illnesses can interfere with normal healing. Furthermore, if you have large pupils, thin corneas or suffer from dry eye, there is also a slight chance you won’t be recommended for laser eye surgery.

How do I choose the right doctor and clinic?

Laser eye surgery is performed by ophthalmologists and nowadays there are many clinics where you can go and have this type of surgery. 

It’s exactly this wide range of options that can be confusing when you have to choose the right clinic and the right surgeon. 

First thing you should do is talk to any friends who’ve already had the surgery and ask about their experiences and any recommendations. 

In case you’re doing research on your own, seek an ophthalmologist who’s performed at least 200 surgeries and make sure you find information on how he treats patients after the surgery. You can also search for patient reviews on the internet. 

Another thing that you can do online is to find out about laser eye surgery cost. This is what you should be especially careful about, since you may come across some great deals, but if the price sounds too good, it might mean that the doctor isn’t experienced enough or that their equipment is outdated. 

Also, avoid doctors who turn down less than 10% of their patients, since it might mean that they don’t screen the candidates meticulously enough.

How do I prepare for the surgery?

Prior to the surgery, your doctor will recommend that you stop wearing your soft contact lenses for a certain period of time. This period can be as short as three days but can be as long as three weeks. 

It can be even longer in case you’re wearing hard lenses. The reason for this is that the lenses can affect the cornea’s oxygen absorption, which may lead to a prolonged healing period, but also inflammation and pain during the surgery. 

Furthermore, you might be prescribed some antibiotics, which you will self-administer. This makes the risk of post-surgical infection much lower. Finally, some doctors may ask that you don’t use any creams, makeup or perfume a day before the surgery.

Do I need general anesthesia?

The laser eye surgery takes about 10 minutes, during which you’ll be awake. You’ll receive local anesthesia so that your eyes are numb and you’re comfortable during the procedure. 

Even though there’s a chance you’ll feel some pressure and even discomfort, you shouldn’t feel any pain. Your vision becomes dim, and there may be a burning smell while they use the laser on your cornea. 
Also, your doctor will use a small device to keep your eyes open, so that you don’t blink during the procedure.

What’s the recovery period like?

Right after the surgery, you’ll get a bandage or a shield in order to protect your eyes. You may experience some itching, a burning sensation, mild pain, watery eyes and some fluctuations in your vision.

 You’ll get some eye drops which you’ll have to use for a few days, and up to a few weeks. During the recovery period, avoid rubbing your eyes, as well as using any makeup or other cosmetic products around your eyes. Also, you shouldn’t engage in any intense physical activities for about a week after the surgery. 

During the first several weeks following the procedure, your vision might be blurred, your eyes dry and sensitive to light, and you might not be able to drive at night. It might take several months, but no longer than six, for your vision to stop changing, and you’ll have regular checkups with your doctor during that time.

These are just some of the many questions people have about laser eye surgery. If this article doesn’t give you the answers you’re looking for, contact your ophthalmologist and find out anything you’re curious about.

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