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A Better Type of Eye Surgery: Intralase Lasik


A second chance at sight? Who wouldn't want that? That is what Lasik eye surgery offers people these days, and it is much better than it used to be.

Meet with a Lasik Team

The first step in your journey to have better eyesight is to actually meet with a Lasik team. It is very important that you pick an experienced doctor who knows what he or she is doing. Honestly, these individuals will probably charge more than others; however, they also tend to do a much better job as well (IntraLase is a good choice). During this first step, you will be put through several different eye tests.

This will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for Lasik. Should you not be a good candidate, then you may qualify for some other type of procedure. A doctor will meet you at the end of your tests' conclusions to confirm whether or not you are a good candidate for Lasik. If you are a good candidate, then the next step is to set up a date for the procedure to be done.

Paperwork

You will have to fill out a bit of paperwork before your eye surgery. This will include stuff like confirming that you understand about the side effects of the surgery and what not. A little bit of dark humor here. The documentation literally asks you if you understand that you could go blind or die from your surgery. However, keep in mind that no one has ever died or gone blind from Lasik. And many thousands of people have undergone the procedure, if not more.

Visit Current Eye Doctor

You may also need to schedule an appointment with your current eye doctor before the Lasik procedure is done. If you do not have one, then you will probably have to find one. Your eye doctor (preferably an ophthalmologist) will simply run additional tests on your eyes prior to the procedure. He or she should submit his tests to the Lasik facility you chose.

No Contact Lenses

Should you be a fan of contact lenses, then you may be temporarily disappointed. The fact is, you can not wear contact lenses for at least two weeks prior to your Lasik procedure. So you have to wear glasses for a while. Apparently, the contact lenses distort the shape of the eye a bit. But by taking them off for a set amount of time, your eyes will regress back to their original shape. Going without contact lenses for a while will help to increase the odds of your eye surgery being a success.

Procedure Day

On the day of your procedure, it is important that you do not use any aerosol deodorant, makeup, hair spray; etc. These can adversely affect the laser. Beyond this, try not to wear any clothing that has lint on it. The flap of your eye will be open and the interior part of your eye will be exposed to the air. And should any bits of that lint get in your eye when the flap is sealed, you could develop problems. Just so you know, the air in the rooms where the laser is will be very clean due to the nature of this procedure.

Before you go in for the surgery, you will be taken to a smaller room where a nurse will explain about what you can expect to happen after your procedure. First, you will have around three types of eye drops to take. One is to prevent infection, another inflammation of the eye, and the other one is simply moisturizing drops.

You should only have to take the first two drops for about a week, or until you run out of drops. You can expect to take them about two to three times a day. Though you can use the moisturizing drops as much as you want. You can easily find more of these moisturizing drops at a store like Target, your local grocery store, or online if all else fails. You will probably be written a prescription to pick up the other two types of eye drops and a couple of mild sedative pills at your local pharmacy.

The nurse may give you one or more of these mild sedatives before your Lasik procedure. These pills help you to relax, which in turn makes it easier for the doctor to fix your vision. The remaining pills will be sent home with you, should you want to take more of them after your procedure.

The nurse will talk about what you should do during surgery. Basically, follow the orange light and squeeze the teddy bear. Yes, there is usually a teddy bear or something for you to squeeze. It seems to help keep the patient calm and still. The nurse may also put blue coverings over your shoes, which helps to keep dirt and other debris out of the surgery area.

When you enter the surgery area, you will be asked to lay down beneath the laser. The doctor then greets you, and basically does a repeat of what the nurse said earlier. You are then given your teddy bear, and the surgery commences. First medicated drops are put in your eye to prevent you from feeling any pain. Be sure to tell the surgeon if you experience any pain, and he or she will place more drops in your eyes. Second a transparent disc of some sort is put in place around your eye. This prevents you from blinking during the procedure.

Next the laser cuts open the transparent flap, and the doctor lifts it out of the way. After this, your vision in that eye will probably go black briefly. You should start to see an orange light, which is the other part of the laser. Follow the orange light around with your eye, and the laser will correct your vision. Once you are done with that, the doctor will close the transparent flap over your eye and remove the transparent disc. Then more medicated drops will be added. And the other eye is then worked on in the same fashion. You should be done in the surgery room in about ten to fifteen minutes.

Recovery Phase

Right after your surgery you may be seeing better, or it may be about the same. The recuperation time can be different for each individual; however, it usually only takes about four or five hours for an improvement in vision. If you were severely nearsighted before, you are more likely to notice the difference in a couple of hours. Before you leave the Lasik facility, you will be given some goggles to wear on the ride home. And be sure you have someone to take you home after the surgery because you will be in no condition to drive.

These goggles should be worn whenever you sleep for about a week after your surgery. The purpose of these goggles is to prevent you from rubbing your eyes after surgery. If you rub your eyes you could move the flap of your eye that the doctor had to open up. This would likely cause a great deal of pain, and you would have to go back to the doctor so he could put the flap back in place. So do not rub your eyes for like a year or two because that is how long it takes for the eye to fully heal.

When you arrive home, try and sleep or just lie down with your eyes closed for four or five hours. It is best to do this on your back. If you sleep on your side, then you risk knocking your goggles loose. Sleeping in a recliner seems to work too.

After four or five hours, go ahead and open your eyes. Can you see better? You probably do. And should you not, then do not worry too much. Your eyes may just need longer to heal. Just take it easy for the first couple of days. Avoid your computer screen or straining your eyes too much. The following day, you will need to go back to your local eye doctor for a checkup. Tell him or her of any concerns you may have, and they will be dealt with.

This is not the last time you will see your eye doctor. You will need to schedule an appointment with him or her for a while after your Lasik eye surgery. Usually the schedule for seeing your eye doctor goes like this. See your eye doctor the day after surgery, then a week, a month, then three months, six months, a year after the surgery, and finally an annual visit. Just keep up with the eye drops, do not rub your eyes, and avoid getting water in your eyes for around a month or so. ©JR All Rights Reserved

Questions and Answers

How much do moisturizing drops cost? About seven or eight dollars for .5 fl oz.

Is there any pain during the procedure? There should not be any pain. If there is, ask for more eye drops.

Can I shower after after my surgery? The first day you should probably skip the shower. After that though, you can. But do not get water in your eyes. Wear the goggles if need be. It would probably be safer to avoid it for a few days if you can.

Starting at what age can I have Lasik? Twenty-one.

How much does it cost? Lasik costs vary depending on where you go. Normally, the more expensive option holds the best chance of success. Expect to pay around four to five thousand for both eyes for the expensive option.

What type of Lasik did you choose? IntraLase Lasik. This is all done with lasers. Earlier forms of Lasik used a metal blade to cut open the translucent flap above your eye. Then a laser would be used to fix the eye. With IntraLase Lasik lasers are used to both create a flap and correct the vision. The laser is much more precise, and it heals far better.

Does insurance cover anything? Sometimes a little. But usually no.

Will Lasik correct farsightedness? To some degree. But generally, it is used for people who are nearsighted.

What is the healing time? It can take up to a year or two for your eyes to fully heal. The eyes heal in layers, with the outer flap where the incision was made healing last.

Are dry eyes a side effect of Lasik? Usually. But it tends to go away fairly quickly. Sometimes it does not, though.

What if they do not correct my vision enough? If your vision is not corrected enough, then a corrective procedure will be done in a few months. But your vision may not stabilize for six or so months after surgery. So you will probably have to wait at least six months.

Can I still wear contact lenses or glasses if I have to after Lasik? Yes. Your eye doctor will tell you when it is safe to do so.

Any problems with your eye surgery? Not really. A tiny cyst developed where my incision was made with the laser, but the doctors said it was not going to be an issue. Vision is between 20/15 and 20/20. It has been almost a year since surgery.

References:

The author of this article was an IntraLase Lasik patient.

Disclaimer:

I am not an eye doctor.

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