More Information About Laser Eye Surgery
Who is a Candidate For Surgery? Laser eye surgery is great for most people, though it’s not suitable for all. To determine if you are a candidate, a pre-surgery consultation is required. During the consultation we assess your eye’s overall health, level of visual acuity, and determine if there are any physical concerns or existing eye diseases that would prevent surgery.
If you have dry eye or another type of chronic eye condition, laser eye surgery may not be possible.
Types of Surgeries Available – Laser eye surgery is commonly referred to as LASIK. This is not incorrect, though technically it is not always correct either. LASIK is one variation of the surgery; in Canada, there are three popular versions of the surgery.
- LASIK – laser assisted in situ keratomileusis – In LASIK, a laser keratome is used to cut a small flap in the epithelial cells in the cornea. This flap is then gently peeled back, exposing the cornea. The laser then reshapes the cornea to correct vision.
- LASEK – laser epithelial keratomileusis – In LASEK, the skin flap is actually cut away from the eye and retained. Once the surgery is performed, the skin flap is placed back onto the cornea and covered in a protective contact lens.
- PRK – photorefractive keratectomy – In PRK, the skin flap is removed and completely discarded. The eye will then grow new epithelial cells within a few days of surgery.
Each version of the surgery has strengths and weaknesses. During our consultation with you, we will walk you through what to expect from the various procedures and answer any questions that you may have. We will help you determine which surgery is right for you.
What to Expect During Surgery – Compared to most procedures, laser eye surgery is significantly less invasive and does not require you to be sedated. The entire procedure takes around an hour and a half to perform, though the eye itself is only operated on for around 10 minutes (each).
At the beginning of the procedure, your eye is numbed so that you do not feel pain. Each eye is then cleaned. LASIK patients generally have both eyes corrected at once; patients having LASEK/PRK performed may opt to wait a week or two between surgeries.
Recovery & Complications – Most patients that undergo LASIK surgery experience noticeable changes to their vision within just a few days. Recovery is also quite rapid. LASEK/PRK patients undergo a slightly longer recovery period.
- Do not shower/wash your hair for at least 24 hours
- Do not exercise/play sports for at least 72 hours
- Avoid dirty environments, fine dust, and smokey/hazey areas for at least 7 days
- Keep water out of your eyes for at least 7 days
- Avoid pools, saunas, and hot tubs for at least three weeks
- Ensure soap/contaminants do not get in your eye for at least a month
Side effects from surgery, while rare, do occur. They can range from mild discomfort, symptoms of dry eye, and light glare/halos/ghosting in your vision. These side effects are generally temporary and dissipate as the eye heals. If you experience these symptoms after surgery, please visit our office to be seen by an Optometrist.