What to expect on the day of surgery
Upon arrival to the laser centre an orthoptist will prepare you for surgery and explain in detail what will happen during the procedure. Any further measurements of your eyes will be taken if required. Prior to surgery anaesthetic drops will be placed into your eyes and any oral sedatives, if required, will be given to reduce any anxiety that may be experienced during the procedure. The procedure is relatively quick. The laser treatment itself is less than a minute, while the entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes for both eyes. Expect to be at the laser centre for about 1 to 1 ½ hours from your arrival time. This time is used to prepare you for surgery and to explain the post-operative period. You will be given eye drops on the day of surgery with a regime of post-operative instructions, which must be followed for the first few weeks after surgery. You will not be able to drive yourself home after surgery or catch public transport, so you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home. It is advised you bring a pair of sunglasses with you to wear on the way home, as you may be sensitive to sunlight and glare after the procedure.
After the procedure it is recommended you go home and get plenty of rest. This will assist in your recovery and any discomfort you may experience. It is normal for your vision to be hazy and your eyes to be watery, gritty and irritated for the first 6-12 hours after the surgery.
Recovery after surgery
After laser surgery, during the healing process your vision may be hazy for the first few days and may fluctuate for the first week after surgery, this is normal for surface treatment (PRK). It will then start to improve and stabilise. Rarely, some patients can take up to 3 months for the vision to stabilise. With LASIK the recovery process is much faster, most patients will see an improvement of their natural eyesight immediately after the procedure and their vision should be at a reasonable level within the first 24 hours.
With the current techniques used, the results of the surgery can last a lifetime. Once your eye has stabilised, usually by 3 months post-operatively, the reshaped cornea is permanently modified. The natural aging process of the eye that causes near vision to become blurred, occurs regardless of refractive surgery. This condition is called presbyopia, and you will need reading glasses.
RETURNING TO WORK & DRIVING:
You may return to work when you feel comfortable. After LASIK most patients can return to work and driving the next day, while most patients after surface treatment (PRK) need longer, approximately one week off work and before driving is resumed.
You should not drive until your vision has been measured and documented. You will be informed at your first post-operative appointment when you can drive safely.
You will be required to attend regular postoperative visits after the procedure, usually for at least the first three months. These post-operatively checks will be covered by your surgical fee.