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Preparing & Caring for Your Eyes During Laser Eye Surgery

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There are many benefits of laser eye surgery. It corrects vision almost immediately, and around 96% of patients are satisfied with its results. With advantages like this, it’s no wonder so many people are resorting to laser eye surgery instead of choosing other vision correction solutions such as contacts or glasses.

If you have an upcoming laser eye surgery appointment, you probably have some questions about how you can care for your eyes before, during, and after your appointment. From how to prepare to what symptoms to expect after surgery, it’s important to understand what to do and what not to do to keep your eyes healthy and seeing well. 

At Medical Optometry America, we’re dedicated to offering you exceptional pre and post-operative care, no matter what your visual needs are. Keep reading to learn more about how we can help you care for your eyes during every stage of your surgery. 

Types of Laser Eye Surgery

The most common types of laser surgery you can get include: 

LASIK

LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses, is the most common type of laser eye surgery. It can be used to correct:

During LASIK surgery, your ophthalmologist will create a “flap” in the cornea. This allows them to use a laser to reshape the cornea and correct your refractive error. 

PRK

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is the second most common laser surgery procedure after LASIK. If your ophthalmologist determines that LASIK is not a good option for you, they may recommend PRK as a second choice.

While PRK and LASIK treat the same conditions, PRK doesn’t involve the same “flap” technique used during LASIK. This makes it an excellent solution for people who are active or have thin corneas. 

RLE

RLE, or refractive lens exchange, is another type of laser eye surgery used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

During RLE surgery, your ophthalmologist will remove your natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens. This type of laser surgery is a great option for people who can’t get LASIK or PRK. 

Close up women eye scanning technology in futuristic way

Is Laser Eye Surgery Right for You? 

Laser eye surgery may be right for you if you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. If you have one of these conditions and are tired of wearing contacts or glasses, book an appointment with us. We will assess your ocular health, and we can refer you to an experienced, respected, and trustworthy surgeon when you are ready. 

Who Shouldn’t Get Laser Eye Surgery

If you fit into any of the following categories, laser eye surgery is not recommended:

  • You are under 18 years old
  • Your refractive errors are severe
  • Your prescription changes frequently
  • You have irregularly shaped corneas
  • You have an eye injury or eye infection
  • You have certain eye conditions
  • You are pregnant or nursing

The best way to know if laser surgery is the right option for you is to receive a laser eye surgery consultation or speak with your medical optometrist to discuss your specific situation. 

Preparing For Laser Eye Surgery

While you are waiting for your surgery date, we will help you prepare for your surgery by ensuring your eyes are in optimal condition. Our goal during this stage is to assess your visual system and treat any pre-existing conditions that could interfere with your surgery and its results. 

One of the significant pre-existing conditions that we regularly treat before a patient undergoes surgery is dry eye. Not only is dry eye an uncomfortable condition, but it can distort the measurements that your surgeon must make and impact the outcome of your surgery.  We have many advanced treatments available to help you find relief and to ensure your ocular surfaces are in optimal condition before your surgery. 

What Can You Do to Prepare? 

During your laser surgery consultation, we will discuss the steps you need to take to ensure your eyes are properly prepared for your procedure. Your medical optometrist will:

  • Help address any pre-existing ocular surface conditions that may affect the outcome of your surgery
  • Discuss how long before your surgery you should remove your contacts 
  • Record what medications you will be taking during the time of your surgery 
  • Communicate any specific care tips you should follow 

In general, before arriving for your surgery, you should avoid: 

  • Wearing any product containing heavy fragrances
  • Using products that contain alcohol, such as hairspray 
  • Wearing clothing that generates any lint 
  • Wearing ear eye makeup for at least 24 hours before surgery
  • Consuming alcohol and smoking on the day of your surgery

You must follow these recommendations to ensure the accuracy of the measurements and to minimize the post-surgery side effects. 

Caring for Your Eyes After Laser Surgery

If you’re considering getting laser eye surgery, your medical optometrist will go over any specific care tips to guide you through the surgical process. It’s essential to follow these recommendations and use all medications prescribed. 

Our tips for caring for your eye after laser eye surgery include:

The Day of Your Procedure

  • Don’t take a shower or wash your hair 
  • Wear dark sunglasses to block sunlight

The Days After Your Procedure

  • Avoid getting water in your eyes 
  • Don’t drive until you feel comfortable
  • Don’t exercise for at least 2 days and follow your surgeons recommendations 
  • Continue the dry eye protocols we recommend to help facilitate healing

The Week After Your Procedure

  • Be sure to keep skin care products away from your eyes 
  • Wear eye shields the doctor gave you while you sleep 
  • Don’t get your hair colored or treated for at least 10 days
  • Avoid dirty and dusty environments for at least 7 days

The Month After Your Procedure

  • Don’t rub or touch your eyes 
  • Avoid pools, whirlpools, saunas, and lakes
  • Wear eye protection during exercise and activities

Complications of Laser Eye Surgery 

Like any surgery, laser eye surgery can pose some complications. Although rare and often temporary, you may experience the following side effects after your surgery:

  • Dry eyes 
  • Glare, halos, & double vision
  • Under corrections
  • Overcorrections
  • Regression
  • Vision loss or changes

These symptoms should usually clear up after a few weeks or months. However, if you are experiencing any symptoms that last for an extended period or are severe, contact your doctor. 

Dry Eye & Laser Eye Surgery 

Unfortunately, dry eye plays a major role in laser eye surgery. If you have dry eyes before your surgery, it can affect your results and exacerbate the dry eye side effects after your surgery.

Dry eyes are also a common, uncomfortable, and unfortunate side effect of laser eye surgery.  The good news is, at Medical Optometry America, our medical optometrists have the expertise to provide a higher standard of post-surgical care, no matter what side effects you’re experiencing. 

We are entirely prepared to treat and manage your dry eye with our diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities

Book Your Pre-Surgical Consultation Today

Laser eye surgery can give you the clear vision you’ve always wanted, without the need for contacts or glasses.

Experience the MOA DIfference 

At MOA, we are dedicated to providing every one of our patients a pre and post-surgical experience that makes them feel completely taken care of.  

We spend more time with each patient than the typical optometrist because we want to ensure that our patients receive seamless care during every stage of their surgery. 

If you’re curious about what MOA can do for you, book an appointment with us today! 

Written by Dr. Leslie E. O’Dell

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