5 tips to consider before laser eye surgery
If you have vision issues, jumping out of bed in the morning and seeing the world clearly may sound like a dream. Thanks to laser vision correction surgery known as LASIK, it’s possible.
LASIK is an acronym for a procedure that uses a laser to change the shape of the cornea — the clear covering of the front of the eye — to improve vision. It is a relatively quick and normally painless procedure, but like any surgery, there are risks and other things to know.
Here are five tips to consider before undergoing this surgery:
Determine if you’re a good candidate
LASIK surgery has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat three types of vision problems:
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
The procedure is typically best for people with moderate vision problems that are stable, which usually happens in early adulthood. For some people who are farsighted, results from LASIK surgery may diminish with age.
If you live with certain health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes or a weakened immune system, you may not be a good candidate. These issues may make it more difficult for your eyes to heal and may cause complications, including dry eyes, persistent glare and even vision loss.
Do your research
Look for a surgeon who is board-certified and has significant experience with laser vision correction. The FDA notes that a doctor should be willing to discuss past surgery outcomes and provide information about the device used to perform the procedure.
Check your vision benefits
Some vision plans include coverage or a member discount for LASIK surgery, which may help improve access and reduce out-of-pocket costs.
Be prepared to stop using contacts
Your eye doctor may ask you to stop using contacts and wear only glasses for a short time before your initial evaluation and possibly again before your laser eye surgery. This is important because contact lenses can alter the shape of your corneas.
Not allowing your cornea to assume its natural shape may lead to inaccurate measurements before surgery and less effective results afterward.
Plan your recovery
You won’t be able to drive yourself home after the procedure, so plan for getting a ride on your procedure day. Your vision may be blurry immediately after surgery, you may experience sensitivity to light and the whites of your eyes may look red or bloodshot. These symptoms should improve within the first few days after your procedure.
You should plan to see your doctor within the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, so your eyes can be examined and your vision tested.