Deciding to have LASIK on your eyes is a big decision. For obvious reasons, most patients are nervous the day of their procedure. This is often when post operative instructions are given to the patient. Over the years we have heard how difficult it can be to remember the post operative instructions that are given. Knowing how to properly care for your eyes following LASIK is extremely important. Here are some guidelines to help you get the best outcome possible.
The most important thing you should do following LASIK is to get some rest. Immediately following LASIK, you will notice a foreign body sensation in your eyes. Keeping your eyes closed helps soothe this feeling and aids in the healing process. That is why we suggest taking a nap if possible after the procedure. The discomfort typically subsides four hours after the procedure. Upon waking, you should use your prescription eye drops as well as lubricating drops (artificial tears) prescribed by your doctor.
Many patients question the best way to administer eye drops. Here are some guidelines to help you succeed. The first step is to wash your hands. Remember, infections, although rare, do occur. Hand washing helps cut down on this risk. When you open your bottle of eye drops, place the top on its side on top of a clean tissue. Do not touch the dropper tip with your fingers or any other object. Quickly turn the bottle upside down resting your thumb on the forehead above the eye that you will be instilling the drop. Turn your head up and keep both eyes open. Focus your vision on a point on the ceiling. Pull the lower eye lid down gently to form a pocket for the drop. Position the eye dropper above the eye but no closer than ¾ inch above your lower lid. Squeeze the bottle to allow the eye drop to fall into the eye. Close your eyes and keep them closed for approximately 30 seconds. Wait five minutes before administering any other eye drops. If your doctor prescribes an ointment in addition to the drops, administer your eye drops before the ointment. Continue using your drops for the entire duration recommended by your doctor.
Lubricating eye drops should be used frequently, ideally every 30-60 minutes during waking hours the first week after surgery and then less frequently thereafter. The drops function is to provide needed lubrication to the eye. During the LASIK procedure, a very thin flap is created. During this process, the corneal nerve endings may be severed. These nerve endings are what tell the brain that the eye is dry, which then causes the eye to produce tears. The temporary interruption of nerve impulses sometimes will cause less tears to be produced by the eye during the healing process. The drops fill this void by providing the necessary lubrication to allow the eye to heal properly.
Many patients think that if they are seeing well that they do not need to be seen by the eye doctor. After LASIK surgery it is very important to be seen for all of your post operative appointments to ensure a positive outcome. Although the risk of post-operative complications is small, it is still wise to be seen for all recommended visits. You should also be seen every year following LASIK to ensure your continued success.
If you are considering LASIK and would like to learn more about your options, visit Raleigh Eye Center online at www.raleigheyecenterlasik.com or call us at (919) 876-2427.