November 29, 2018

What to expect on the day of your laser procedure

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Read the full NZ Herald article here

You’ll likely be a little nervous and excited all at the same time! But don’t worry, the doctor and his team will talk you through what to expect each step of the way.  Here is a brief overview to give you some idea:

Before the procedure:

We will ask you to arrive at a time that allows for preparation of the eyes before the procedure.  You should have stopped wearing contact lenses 2 full days beforehand unless the team has cleared you to wear them until the day of the procedure.   Usually you will be here for about 1 to 2 hrs in total depending on your procedure.

It is best that you don’t wear makeup or perfume/cologne that day.  Ideally wear something comfortable and avoid fluffy clothes with loose fibres – and if your work involves lots of dust and dirt please change before you come in, it’s not good if there is any around during eye surgery.

It’s nice (but not essential) to have a support person with you for your procedure.  You won’t be able to drive yourself home so make travel arrangements beforehand and ask our team if you need help with this.  You may be able to drive yourself the next day to your first check-up but please ask the team about this before the day of surgery - be prepared to make other travel arrangements for this important first check.

A theatre nurse will talk about the post-operative eye drops and administer anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes. They will then use an antiseptic wash around the eyes.  We’ll talk you through the next steps and take you through to the laser theatre suite to lie down on a special bed.

During the procedure:

Your eye surgeon will talk to you throughout the procedure to ensure you are comfortable and know what is going to happen every step of the way. The process is quick and pain free - the precision laser technology takes a few seconds on each eye to correct your vision and before you know it, you’ll be walking to the recovery area.

The laser will already be pre-programmed to correct your vision before you come in.  The patterns of your iris identify that it is your eye being treated and confirms correct alignment.  

Two questions generally come up at this point:

  1. How do I keep my eye open? To prevent blinking, we fit a small speculum to your eyelids to gently help them stay open – it is comfortable and you may not realise it’s there because of the effect of the numbing drops.
  2. What if I move my eye? The laser is fitted with a special eye-tracker which compensates for any moment of your eye during the procedure – it adjusts faster than you imagine and in fact even compensates for tiny movements due your breathing and heartbeat.

The LASIK procedure has two steps to correct your vision. The first step takes a couple of minutes and uses a femto-second laser to create a thin flap on the top layer of your cornea.  The second step uses the Amaris 1050RS ExcimerLaser to reshape the cornea and correct your focusing problems and any subtle irregularities of your cornea.  The reshaping process only three to five seconds for most people and once that’s complete, the surgeon gently replaces the corneal flap and the healing process begins.

After the procedure:

In the recovery area you’ll notice your vision is slightly misty, but often there is already a noticeable improvement in vision.  We’ll make you comfortable in a reclining chair for about 5-10 minutes to relax, then a few more eye drops are put in your eyes.  
We like to do one final check before you leave and talk you through the post-operative instructions one last time.  After that, your eye shields are put over the eyes and you are free to go home to rest your eyes closed as much as you can for the remainder of the day.   The more time you have with the eyes closed after the procedure, the more comfortable the eyes will be and the quicker they will heal.

We will then check your eyes the following day at our clinic, and the other check-ups can be with us or your local optometrist depending on what is more convenient for you.  



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