Preparing for Eye Surgery
Despite the fact that thousands of people undergo successful eye surgery every day, the process is bound to make some patients nervous about what it entails. The key to making the experience as comfortable as possible is in knowing what to expect and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the procedure.
Here are some helpful tips:
At least a week prior to your eye surgery, arrange a ride with a friend or family member since you will be unable to drive yourself home after the procedure.
The night before your eye surgery, take any eye drops or medication provided by your eye care provider and be sure to follow the instructions precisely. Also, refrain from alcohol consumption. Do not eat or drink past midnight and be sure to get a good night’s sleep.
Do not eat any food or drink any beverage on the morning of your surgery. Dress comfortably and do not wear makeup, cosmetics, cologne, or perfume to the surgical center.
Arrive about 30 minutes early just in case there is any last-minute paperwork you need to fill out or if you have questions you need to discuss with the surgeon.
Cataract surgery is performed with topical anesthesia instilled into the eye as well as medication delivered intravenously in your arm to help you relax. The procedure itself is relatively fast and simply involves creating a very small, self-healing incision opening through which the natural lens of your eye is removed and replaced with a new, artificial lens. You will probably be in and out of the surgery center and on your way home within two hours.
Retinal surgery is performed with local anesthesia (your eye is put to sleep) and conscious sedation in most cases. For some procedures, it is best to be put to sleep (intubated). Your retinal surgeon and anesthesiologist will ensure you are comfortable and recover quickly. While these procedures take longer than a cataract or corneal procedure, most patients are in and out of the same-day facility in under 3 hours.
Preparing for LASIK Surgery
In the weeks or days prior to your procedure, be sure to read all the materials your LASIK surgeon has provided you. If you have any questions, call your eye doctor for clarification.
If you normally use soft contact lenses, stop wearing them two weeks before your scheduled surgery. This is to make sure your corneas are stable.
Be sure to arrange in advance to have someone drive to and from the surgery. Although your eyesight will be significantly improved immediately after LASIK, you shouldn’t drive until your surgeon has had a chance to check your vision the day after surgery.
The night before surgery, be sure to remove all makeup and lotions from the area around your eyes and flush any debris from your eyes using artificial tears. Write down any last-minute questions you may have for your surgeon and bring them to the surgery center.
On the day of your surgery, do not apply any makeup or face lotions, and do not wear perfume or cologne. If you are taking medications, continue doing so unless instructed otherwise by your LASIK surgeon.
Upon entering the surgery room, you will lie down and numbing drops will be applied to your eyes to keep them comfortable throughout the LASIK procedure. A small device will then be used to keep your eye(s) wide open during all steps of the surgery. You will be asked to look at a target inside the laser, and your surgeon will observe your eye through a microscope during the laser reshaping process.
A laser or surgical tool called a microkeratome will be used to create an ultrathin flap on the center of the cornea. The flap will then be folded back to expose the area of the cornea that will be reshaped with the laser, which is programmed to deliver the precise amount of energy and treatment pattern needed for your specific vision correction need. The computer-controlled treatment usually takes less than a minute.
When your laser treatment is completed, the corneal flap will be returned to its original position. The LASIK procedure is then repeated on your other eye.
LASIK surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes.
Most patients resume normal activities 24 hours after eye surgery, but there are a few precautions you should follow. These include:
- Refrain from any strenuous activities such as exercise or heavy lifting for a few weeks.
- Don’t drive until your doctor tells you it is safe to do so.
- Follow your doctor’s orders regarding any antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. These are necessary to prevent infection and inflammation and ensure proper healing. If you have difficulty in administering them, get a friend or family member to help you out.
- Don’t rub your eye. That’s a surefire way to develop a nasty infection.
- Don’t swim. Also avoid hot tubs for a week after surgery.
- Don’t wear makeup. Ask your doctor when you can continue doing so.
If you experience any of the following symptoms after your surgery, contact your eye doctor immediately:
- Vision loss
- Pain that persists despite using over-the-counter medications
- Light flashes or multiple spots in front of your eye
- Nausea, vomiting or excessive coughing
Animas Surgical Hospital
575 Rivergate Lane
Durango, CO 81301
Four Corners Ambulatory Surgical Center
2300 East 30th Street, Building A
Farmington, NM 87401
Mercy Outpatient Surgery Center
at Mercy Regional Medical Center
1 Mercado Street, Suite 201
Parking Lot E
Durango, CO 81301