Laser eye surgery is a convenient way to correct vision and get rid of your glasses or contact lenses. Those who wear contact lenses know that they can be subject to dryness, irritation, and constant reordering of your supply. On the other hand, those who wear glasses know they can fog up, fall off, and require frequent cleaning.

Conversely, vision correction with a refractive surgery technique such as LASIK surgery or one of the other laser eye surgery procedures eliminates all of these inconveniences. Keep reading to discover what you need to know about the lead-up to your surgical procedure and the post operation healing process.



How Laser Eye Surgery Works?

Laser eye surgery is just one form of refractive surgery. It includes techniques such as PRK, SMILE, and LASIK surgery.

Laser vision correction techniques involve modifying the curvature of the corneal tissue. By adjusting the shape of the cornea, your eye surgeon changes the way light rays bend through this surface. The ultimate aim is to focus light sharply onto the retina to fix blurred vision caused by conditions such as short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.

pre surgery procedure treatment eye laser melbourneIn order to adjust the corneal curvature, laser eye surgery involves removing precise sections of tissue, with the laser beam guided by a sophisticated computer algorithm. This means you will need a minimum corneal thickness for the laser procedure to be safe for you. This is especially true for LASIK surgery. The LASIK procedure requires the formation of a corneal flap, which reduces the available corneal thickness for reshaping.

Laser eye surgery is performed under topical rather than general anaesthesia. However, if you’re anxious your eye surgeon can give you a mild sedative. Once you’re settled into the laser suite, an instrument is used to help keep your eyelids open and you’ll be asked to keep your eye fixed onto a target light.

If you’re having LASIK surgery, when the flap of cornea is opened, you’ll find your vision goes blurry. The laser removes sections of the deeper corneal tissues before the flap is repositioned.

There is rarely any pain or discomfort associated with laser eye surgery. Some patients report the sensation of pressure and may experience the faint smell of burning hair during the procedure.


Before Laser Eye Surgery: The Initial Consultation

Prior to undergoing your laser treatment, you will need a comprehensive initial consultation with your eye doctor. The purpose of this examination is to establish several important things – in particular, your suitability for laser vision correction.


Factors affecting eligibility for laser eye surgery

Not everyone is suitable for laser eye surgery, whether LASIK surgery or any other form of laser vision correction. Factors that will be considered include:

  • Age
  • Pre-existing vision problems causing poor vision
  • Lifestyle factors such as whether you play contact sports
  • Systemic conditions that may delay healing, such as diabetes
  • Conditions involving hormonal changes, such as pregnancy
  • The available thickness of your corneal tissue for laser treatment


What if I’m not eligible for laser eye surgery?

If laser vision correction is deemed to be unsuitable for you – for example, if you have excessively thin corneas, you may still be offered another refractive surgery technique that doesn’t involve laser surgery. Options include refractive lens exchange or implantable collamer lenses.


How Do I Prepare for Laser Eye Surgery?

After your first consultation, your eye doctor may give you some pre operation guidelines to follow before your procedure. This can include staying out of your contact lenses for at least a couple of weeks to ensure your cornea is in good condition.

You may also need to improve the hygiene around your eyelids and lashes to reduce your risk of infection. Your eye specialist will advise you on how to perform this.

During your pre operation consultations, you can help your eye surgeon by disclosing your full medical and family history. Doing this helps your eye doctor identify and manage any factors that may increase your risk during the laser eye surgery procedure or the recovery period.


Your Vision and Eyes After Laser Eye Surgery

Immediately after your laser surgery, your eye surgeon will place a protective shield over your eyes. If you had PRK, you may also have a bandage contact lens placed on the cornea.

Depending on what type of laser surgery you had, you may find your visual acuity (clarity of vision), improves within a few hours. This tends to be the case especially with SMILE and LASIK surgery.

In the days soon after your laser eye surgery, you can also expect:

  • Some light sensitivity
  • A bit of redness around the eyes
  • A gritty, sore sensation in the eyes


expectation post surgery eye laser melbourneRecovery Time

Recovery time can vary depending on which type of laser eye surgery procedure you had. For LASIK surgery and SMILE, many people feel comfortable enough to return to their normal activities within a week. However, activities with a risk of trauma such as strenuous contact sports or martial arts will need to be avoided for another few weeks.

PRK is associated with a slightly longer healing process, typically 4 weeks or so.


Laser Eye Surgery Aftercare

Your eye specialist will give you post operation instructions after your procedure to guide your recovery process and schedule a few follow up appointments. You’ll also have some prescription eye drops, such as anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops to support your healing. Any mild pain after your procedure can usually be managed with off-the-shelf painkillers such as paracetamol.


Post-Op Guidelines

General recovery instructions include:

  • Complete the full course of your eye drops
  • Attend your follow up appointment
  • Don’t engage in other high-risk activities such as a contact sport until given the all-clear by your eye doctor
  • Keep your eye area clean and free of contaminants, including water sources such as the pool or sauna
  • If anything seems abnormal with your eyes or vision, contact your doctor immediately, ideally on the same day

At your review appointments, your eye specialist will be checking several things, such as your vision and the state of your corneas. Most people have their first review appointment the day after their procedure, a week after, a few months after that. Even if you feel your vision for distant objects is perfect, it’s important to avoid driving until your eye specialist has assessed your visual acuity.

If you’re considering getting laser eye surgery, do not hesitate to contact Dr Anton van Heerden on (03) 9000 0389 for a professional consultation.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. 




What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?

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