Laser eye surgery pre-op guide
05 April 2022
If you have decided to undergo laser eye surgery to correct your eyesight, you may think that you have lots to do to prepare for your appointment. You’ll be pleased to know that this isn't the case, however there are some steps you should take to help protect your eyes, and to give you the best chance at a quick and seamless recovery from surgery. Here’s some of our top advice to help you prepare for laser eye surgery.
Stop wearing contacts
The most common and important advice for those preparing to undergo laser eye surgery is to refrain from wearing contact lenses in the weeks leading up to your treatment. If you wear soft contact lenses, you will be asked to refrain from wearing them for 2 days leading up to the surgery, while we recommend leaving out any extended wear lenses for a week prior to surgery. If you wear rigid gas-permeable lenses, we will ask you to leave them out for 3 weeks before surgery.
Contact lenses can put pressure on your corneas and slightly change the shape of the surface of your eyes. By refraining from wearing contact lenses, you allow your eye to settle back into its natural shape ready for surgery.
If you have a strong prescription and would struggle with your vision without contact lenses, it is recommended that you have a set of glasses with an up-to-date prescription to help you through the period without contacts.
If you usually wear rigid gas-permeable lenses, you can switch to soft lenses for the 3 week period leading up to your surgery, as long as you then leave the soft lenses out for 48 hours before surgery. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to call your Ultralase patient advisor.
Treat your eyes well
In order to give yourself the best chance at a swift recovery, there are a few things you can do to improve your general eye health before surgery. The first is to drink extra water to ensure your eyes are well hydrated before your appointment. This may seem obvious, but having dry eyes could affect the surgery, so make sure you have taken extra care to hydrate.
Drinking alcohol up to 24 hours before surgery or caffeine on the day is also not recommended, as these will dehydrate your body, especially your eyes. The use of perfumes, make-up, face creams or wipes should also be avoided, as the chemicals could affect your eyes and the surgery.
Preparing to undergo surgery
Before your appointment, it is vital that you know how you are getting to and from the clinic, as you will not be able to drive. Ideally, you will be picked up after your treatment by someone such as a friend or family member, or a taxi firm. You cannot legally drive until you have been given the all-clear by your optometrist in the days after treatment, so if you are travelling a long distance for your appointment, it is recommended that you find accommodation if you are unable to travel accompanied on the day.
Depending on your occupation, you may need to arrange for time off work. Recovery times vary between different types of laser surgery (LASIK vs. LASEK), so ensure that you are fully aware of the expected recovery period for the type of laser eye surgery you are undergoing.
The most important thing when undergoing surgery of this kind is to be armed with as much knowledge about the procedure as possible, so nothing comes as a surprise. Always follow the medical advice of your surgeon, optometrist and patient advisor, and talk to them about any issues you feel unsure of. For information on laser eye surgery visit our page here.
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