Laser eye surgery is one of the safest and most common procedures performed today. Of course, no matter how standard the process, it can still cause patients considerable stress in the days leading up to their operation.
One of the best ways to deal with these pre-surgery jitters is to focus on the things you can control. By having yourself as prepared as possible, you can feel secure in knowing that you’re ready to go and have everything under control.
We’ve put together this helpful checklist of the things you can do to prepare yourself for your operation. By following these steps, you’ll feel prepared and ready for the whole new world of vision that’s about to follow.
Make Sure your Doctor is up to speed on your medical history.
You want to make sure that you inform your doctor about any concerns regarding your eyes. However, it’s also essential that you fill them in on your general medical history as well. If you’re taking any medications or have any drug allergies, your surgeon should be aware. Remember, there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to medical procedures.
Take a break from eye makeup for a couple of days.
There is no disputing that some eyeliner, a little mascara, and just the right brow work can make for a stunning look. However, in the days before your laser eye surgery, it’s best to go without. Debris left behind by makeup can cause complications and possibly lead to infections. You want to thoroughly, but gently, wash the eye area several times in the days before the operation. After the procedure, your eye makeup game will be even better when you can wear it sans-glasses!
Make sure you have a surgery-day buddy.
Laser eye surgery is a relatively minor procedure. The process usually takes little more than an hour and a half from beginning to end. However, patients need to have someone to drive them home after the operation. It’s also not a bad idea to ensure there’s someone with you while you take a couple of days to rest and let your eyes recover. Most patients feel back to normal the day after surgery, but it’s still recommended to give yourself at least two days to rest and rejuvenate.
Download some audio entertainment for your recovery.
It’s essential that you allow your eyes time to rest and recover following the procedure. The best way to do this is to take a break from vision-intensive activities for a few days. Try to stay away from your computer, your phone, and even your favourite books, and let your eyes relax. After a couple of days of using your other senses to take in the world, you’ll be back to yourself again. Until then, catch up on the latest podcasts, or even see if you can’t download audiobooks from your preferred authors. You may even find you really enjoy experiencing old favourites in a new way.
No smoking on surgery day.
While smoking is never recommended for a healthy lifestyle, it’s essential that if you smoke, you refrain from doing so on surgery day. The chemicals from cigarettes can cause the eyes to dry out and the skin around the eyes to tighten up. As it’s critical for a smooth procedure that the eyes and surrounding skin remain lubricated and pliable, smoking on the day-of is a bad idea.
Layout a comfortable outfit to wear for the procedure.
We usually recommend that patients wear something loose-fitting that will allow them to relax during the surgery. While laser eye surgery is not generally more than an hour and a half, that can feel like an eternity if your clothes are uncomfortable while you need to stay still.
Fabrics to Avoid
While it’s essential to choose comfortable attire to wear to your procedure, it’s important to note that you need to refrain from wearing wools or fleece into the operating room. These facilities need to maintain a lint-free atmosphere to safely operate very sophisticated machinery. Comfortable cotton or loose-fitting linens are a perfect choice. However, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if you are unsure.
Avoid using any hairsprays or perfumes the day-of
There will be plenty of time to get yourself gussied up after your laser eye surgery. However, on the day of the procedure, refrain from using hair styling products or any signature scents. The chemicals used in these products can cause your eyes to dry ever so slightly, potentially interfering with the operation.
If you wear contacts, switch to glasses two weeks before the procedure.
Even though it’s quite minor, contact lenses distort the shape of your cornea through everyday use. When preparing for laser eye surgery, it’s essential that you give your eyes enough time to relax and return to their natural form so the doctor can get the correct measurements for the procedure. For most soft contacts, two weeks is sufficient. However, if you wear hard or rigid gas permeable lenses, you want to stop wearing them three to four weeks before.
Use your eye drops as prescribed and bring them with you.
Leading up to the procedure, your doctor will likely prescribe eye drops and give you instructions for their use. The drops will help moisten your eyes and get them ready for the surgery. They also provide an anti-bacterial layer, that will be important following the operation as your eyes are healing.
Be sure to write down your questions and bring them with you.
No doubt, you will have several things that you are going to want to ask the surgeon. Very often, on the day of patients completely forget all the things that had come to mind. Designate a small note pad for your laser eye questions in the weeks leading up to your procedure. Just be sure to bring the list with you on your scheduled day.
Take a Recovery Day (or two)
No matter how minor a procedure laser eye surgery is, having enough time to rest and recuperate is of paramount importance. While it’s a given that you should take the day of the operation as a health-day, it’s also an excellent idea to designate the following day as a rest day. If your employment situation allows, consider taking off two days following, or at least working from home on the second day at a reduced capacity. While many people feel back to normal the day after, it’s essential to give your eyes time to rest.
Take a few deep breaths.
The idea of laser surgery can feel scary for many people. No matter how safe it is, it still requires putting your trust in the surgeon and going through the operation. In the days leading up to your procedure, find a few minutes to sit alone each day. Breathe slowly and think about how great it will be to have restored vision. Imagine moving through the world with new eyes and feeling the freedom to not need to rely on your glasses in the same way any longer. Picture how happy this is going to make you, and say to yourself, my new and improved vision is only a few days away. Focusing the mind on the outcome allows you to relax your body and prepare yourself to positively embrace the surgery to come.