It is an outpatient surgery: it lasts about five minutes, the patient is awake during the whole surgery.
The fact that the operation is quick does not mean that it is simple or that any surgeon is able to perform it: on the contrary, as it often happens, the more the procedures are sophisticated and fastthe more who performs them has to be experienced. For this reason it is important to entrust a qualified specialist.
Remember to let a relative or a friend go with you, so you don’t have to drive back home and you won’t have to worry about it.
Most people do not feel any pain during the LASIK procedure. First our eye is anaesthetised by a few drops of eye-drop, then we lie on our back on the ophthalmologist chair and the laser is placed above our head. The surgery is performed one eye at a time. A retractor is positioned on the eye to maintain our eyelid open, while a soft corneal suction ring is applied to hold the eye in place, which is very important to allow the surgeon to create the corneal flap.
The surgeon marks some points on the cornea with a special ink marker before he creates the flap. The flap is made using a microkeratome or a laser, depending on the choice of the surgeon. During the flap creation, which happens very quickly, you won’t see any “incision” or the flap just produced; the thickness of the flap is very small and the whole procedure is invisible to our eye.
Afterwards the ophthalmologist sets the laser with the help of a computer to adapt it to our needs. He will ask us to stare at a light for a short period of time during which he will observe our eye with the microscope while the laser sends its pulses to our cornea. In this way the laser modifies the shape of the cornea painlessly.
After the surgery
As we said earlier, our surgeon will let us rest for a little while before we can leave the eye centre and go back home (in this case someone will drive us back home, so we don’t have to worry about driving). Once at home, we will relax and rest for some hours.
Many people go back to work the day after the surgery, while some doctors prefer to give the patient some days off. It is important to avoid excessive stresses and intensive physical activities in order to not traumatise the eye and delay its recovery.
Thanks to LASIK refractive surgery, most people improve their eyesight almost immediately, while in some cases the recovery may be gradual and may take some days or even weeks.