It is entirely normal to be anxious about having LASIK surgery. Having laser eye surgery is an unusual experience, but we do our best to make LASIK surgery quick and painless. Let us walk you through a typical LASIK eye surgery procedure as performed at Cornea Associates of Texas.
Typically, you will arrive at our laser surgery center about 30 minutes prior to your scheduled LASIK surgery time. Several eye drops will be placed in your eyes and a technician answers any last minute questions you may have. (By this time you will have already been seen at our office and have spent time with the LASIK surgeon discussing your procedure) You will also be asked to sign your consent form at this time. When it is time for your LASIK eye surgery, you will first go to an exam room, where your surgeon will spend a few minutes with you. During that time, you will be told exactly what to expect during LASIK surgery
When you enter the LASIK eye surgery suite, you will see two very large, box-shaped instruments about the size of an air-conditioners. You will lie down in a reclining chair and look up into the laser. The first step of LASIK surgery is to place a plastic drape over the eye, which holds back eyelashes, keeping them out of the way. Anesthetic eye drops have already been placed in the eye, soyour eyes will feel numb. Your lids and lashes will still have feeling and you will be aware of some manipulation of your lids. An eyelid holder, called a speculum, will be in place in your eye to keep you from blinking. It is OK to feel like you need to blink, the speculum controls this reflex.
Next, we'll wash the eye with a cool salt solution, washing away debris and oil from the surface of the cornea. Then, we'll begin the flap portion of the LASIK surgery procedure by placing a cone-like instrument on the eye. The cone gently raises the pressure in the eye, and produces a slight sensation of pressure, like you are pressing on your eye with your hand.
With placement of the cone, the IntraLase iFS® laser produces incredibly small pulses of laser light, a quadrillionth of a second each, that pass through the outer portion of the cornea without causing any damage to surrounding tissue. The result of these pulses is the formation of a consistent, even layer of microscopic bubbles arranged just beneath the eye’s surface. The surgeon will easily separate the tissue where the bubbles occur and then fold this flap back and the eye is now ready for the excimer laser application. At this point of LASIK surgery, we will ask you to fixate on a red flashing light. The laser beam is invisible but it does create some sound and an odor. The sound of the laser application is similar to a clapping or clicking noise. Many of our patients report being surprised by the odor, which smells like something burning. It is important to know that this laser creates no heat. The burning smell is simply the odor of vaporized tissue from the cornea and is completely normal during LASIK.
After the application of the laser, which lasts approximately 10 to 50 seconds, the flap is floated back into position using a salt solution. The corneal flap is then allowed to dry for a fixed amount of time. During this drying time, you may notice that the lights around the laser and the red flashing light become more clear and sharp. You are already seeing some improvement in your vision, only seconds after the treatment. The quick improvement in one's vision is the most common and exciting quality of LASIK eye surgery. It is also important to note there is typically NO sensation of any pain during the surgical procedure.
This entire LASIK eye surgery procedure takes about seven to eight minutes. The first eye is then taped closed and, if the patient desires, the other eye is treated. Many patients elect to have both eyes done on the same day. However, if you are not comfortable with this, we can perform LASIK surgery on only one eye, then wait a week and do the other. We will be happy to discuss this issue with you in more detail when you come for your LASIK eye surgery consultation at our practice in Dallas, Plano or Ft. Worth.
After LASIK surgery, your doctor will meet with you and discuss the post-operative regimen and schedule a follow-up visit for the next day.
If you have any further questions about LASIK eye surgery, we encourage you to contact Cornea Associates of Texas today!