At Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS, Dr. Patel understands how important clear vision is to independence and quality of life. To help people maintain their vision, quality of life, and independence, she offers several solutions to eye problems, including laser eye surgery. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this procedure, including how long the results last and who can benefit from surgery.
Is Laser Eye Surgery Permanent?
The results of laser eye surgery will last a lifetime. It changes the shape of the cornea forever. However, you should bear in mind that age-related changes to the eyes, like cataracts and the need for reading glasses, may still affect you as you age.
What Is the Likelihood That I Will Need a Follow-Up Procedure?
The likelihood that you will need a follow-up procedure is very slim. Roughly one to two percent of people who get LASIK eye surgery need an enhancement procedure during the first 12 months following surgery. After that, the likelihood of needing an enhancement procedure only increases by 1% annually.
What Causes Eye Changes?
There are a number of factors that can change the eyes. Some people need a follow-up LASIK procedure after developing a medical condition that affects eye health. Other people experience vision reduction due to the natural aging process.
Am I a Good Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?
LASIK has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1999, and it has since been used to help millions of people see more clearly. It is considered safe and effective for most people who are over the age of 17. The reason for this is that hormonal changes that occur during puberty can affect eye health and vision. If you get LASIK before your eyes are fully developed, they can continue changing after surgery.
You also need to have a stable vision prescription to qualify for surgery. If your prescription changes, regardless of your age, this procedure may not be very effective. Moreover, you must be in good overall health. You may not qualify for surgery if you suffer from certain autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or certain eye conditions. Some of the most common eye-related contraindications for surgery include glaucoma and cataracts. In such cases, PRK may be a better fit for you.
Who Is a Poor Candidate for This Procedure?
Often, people suffering from dry eye syndrome are considered a poor fit for this procedure. Similarly, people who have a history of dry eye may not qualify for surgery. Dr. Patel will determine during your initial consultation if you need to have your dry eye treated before LASIK. You may just need to take a nutritional supplement or use artificial tears before surgery.
Moreover, you may be disqualified from surgery if your cornea isn’t thick enough for a corneal flap to be made safely. Your prescription may also disqualify you from surgery. While LASIK is highly effective, it can only do so much to correct vision. It can benefit people suffering from astigmatism or farsightedness, but it is usually recommended for people with nearsightedness. Generally, LASIK can correct:
- 5 diopters for astigmatism
- 5 diopters for farsightedness
- -11 diopters of nearsightedness
How Should I Prepare for LASIK?
One of the most important preparation steps to take before LASIK is to advise Dr. Patel on your complete medical history. Don’t forget to mention allergies, current and recent medications, and medical problems not related to your eyes. Furthermore, you mustn’t consume caffeine prior to surgery. Caffeine can elevate blood pressure, cause anxiety and fidgeting, and dehydrate you. Coming into your appointment hydrated is crucial.
Most of your body is made up of water, and staying hydrated helps your body flush waste and heal quickly. In addition to refraining from caffeine consumption, you must drink at least half a gallon of water daily prior to your procedure, avoid alcohol consumption within 24 hours of surgery, and not consume too much potassium.
Can I Use Eye Drops Prior to Surgery?
You may be advised to use eye drops before surgery, depending on the quality of your tear film. However, you need to let Dr. Patel know during your initial consultation if you use medicated eye drops.
Depending on their ingredients, you may need to stop using your eye drops for several days in advance of your procedure. Similarly, you may need to not use your medicated eye drops on the day of your procedure. Moreover, you may need to not use decongestants or allergy eye drops on the day of your procedure.
Can I Wear Contacts Before Surgery?
How long you will need to go without contacts before surgery depends on several factors, including the type of contact lenses you wear. For example, you’ll need to go 10 to 14 days without wearing toric lenses designed to correct astigmatism. If you wear soft lenses, you will need to refrain from wearing them for five to seven days before your pre-op exam and procedure.
Don’t worry if you wear other specialty contacts and don’t know how long you should avoid wearing them. Dr. Patel will advise you on this during your initial consultation.
What Can I Expect During My Procedure?
LASIK differs from most other surgical procedures in that you will be awake during surgery. You’ll be given a mild sedative to help ease any anxiety you may have. However, your attention is necessary during surgery. In addition to getting a sedative, you will receive numbing drops in your eye. You won’t feel any pain. All told, your procedure will take around 10 minutes to complete.
What Can I Expect After Surgery?
It will take a few hours for your numbing drops to wear off, so you can expect to remain comfortable after surgery. You will not be able to drive yourself home after surgery because your vision may be blurry. Furthermore, your reaction time may be impaired after surgery due to the effect of the sedative. Make sure you have someone to drive you home following your procedure.
It’s a good idea to go home and take a nap after your procedure. People who go home and nap after surgery often report that their vision is a lot clearer and their eyes are more comfortable after waking up from their nap. However, you should bear in mind that it can take up to six months for your vision to stabilize fully. Regardless of whether you nap after surgery, though, you should not go to work after your procedure.
When Can I Return to Work?
Depending on the nature of your job and other factors, you may not be able to go back to work for two to three days. However, some people can return to work the day after their procedure. You must listen carefully to your body. If you feel like you need more rest the day after your laser eye surgery, don’t go back to work. The harder you push yourself, the longer it will take you to make a full recovery.
What Else Should I Avoid After Surgery?
You will also need to avoid rubbing your eyes during the first 14 days following your procedure. For roughly one week following surgery, you will need to avoid outdoor bodies of water, pools, and hot tubs. How long you will need to go without exercise depends on how quickly you recover from surgery.
It is also very important that you avoid getting water in your eyes. If you shower after surgery, keep your eyes closed. Excessive amounts of pressure should also be avoided. Let your eyelids air dry after showering rather than drying them with a towel.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
Laser eye surgery will permanently change the shape of your cornea. However, there is still a chance that age-related eye problems will occur after surgery. To find out if this procedure is right for you, contact us now at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Patel.