As an ophthalmologist who performs LASIK here in Charleston, South Carolina, one of my favorite questions to ask patients is, “When was the last time you went without glasses?” I often encounter a long pause as patients mentally rewind to a time — years or even decades earlier — when clear vision without corrective lenses was the norm for them.
That’s the promise of LASIK: clear vision, all the time. Here’s how we get there.
Prior to your actual procedure, we need to take a closer look at your eyes to make sure you’re eligible for LASIK. You’ll come in for a complimentary LASIK consult, during which Dr. Hood or I, along with my LASIK technicians will evaluate your vision, current prescription, and perform diagnostic tests to determine the thickness of your cornea and evaluate the shape of your eye.
Once these things are taken into account and we confirm that you’re a good candidate for LASIK, you’ll meet with our LASIK coordinator to schedule your appointment and talk about cost and any discounts or specials you may qualify for.
Once these things are taken into account and we confirm that you’re a good candidate for LASIK, we can develop a plan for your procedure. I’ll prescribe eyelid scrubs and oral medication, and you’ll leave with a clear set of instructions for preparations before and after LASIK.
The Day of Your Procedure
LASIK is very efficient, but it is still a procedure. We ask that patients dress accordingly, wear comfortable clothing and shoes and leave all jewelry at home. Please do not wear any makeup, perfume, cologne, hairspray, or gel.
When you arrive, we will begin by confirming you have read and understand the consent form and ask for your signature. Once checked in, my assistants will call you back, they will confirm you have the prescribed LASIK drops and oral medication, review with you what to expect while in the laser suite, go over post-operative instructions, and answer any questions you have. Next, I will review your treatment plan with you and confirm you are ready to proceed.
Once you are ready for treatment, we will walk you to the laser suite where you will lie on your back face up. This gives me an overhead view of your eyes and allows me to position the laser. Over the next few minutes, the first laser will create a corneal flap, the second laser will reshape your cornea to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts. The laser works very quickly, and tracking and alignment systems ensure your safety throughout the process.
Once the procedure is complete, you will be taken to recovery, where you will recline with your eyes closed for about 20 to 30 minutes. After, I’ll evaluate your flap and release you to go home. Your eyes will likely water, be light sensitive and may feel gritty or scratchy all of which are normal. The cornea begins healing immediately, but we ask that you go home and sleep for 4 to 6 hours to allow for quicker healing.
The next day, you are scheduled to come in for a follow-up visit to make sure that healing is progressing as expected.
From there, you’ll continue wearing the protective glasses for 7 nights — and for many patients, that’s the last time they’ll ever need to wear glasses (or contacts).