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What To Do Before LASIK? 11 Tips for Your First Eye Surgery

September 10, 2021

11 Things to know before your first LASIK surgery

So, you’ve made the decision to have LASIK. How exciting! But with all the anticipation of the surgery, your nerves can start to kick in. Not to worry, this article will review all the things to know before LASIK, so you can show up cool, calm, and collected.

Don’t Lie About Your Medical History

Don't lie about your medical history

As part of your LASIK consultation preparation, gather all the information you need about your medical history. It’s super important that your doctor has all the details in your chart. Don’t omit or play down any of your ocular or medical issues, medications, or allergies. Your doctor can only use the information that you choose to volunteer, so make sure they get a complete picture. Don’t make a personal judgment as to what is important to your doctor. Let them make that call.

Drink More Water Before Surgery

Your body is made up of 60% water. Water is critical in the functioning of every cell, tissue, and organ. Water helps to keep you hydrated, flush waste, and promote healing. Laser eye surgery can temporarily make your eyes more susceptible to dryness, so it’s important to hydrate from the inside out. The use of over-the-counter artificial tears will also help to minimize the feeling of dryness immediately following your treatment.

There is no disadvantage to staying hydrated! In daily life, it is recommended that you drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water daily. Drinking alcohol before LASIK surgery can be dehydrating and interfere with medications used for the procedure, so refrain from alcohol on the day of surgery.

Can I Drink Caffeine Before LASIK?

During the procedure we will want you to be relaxed and calm. Caffeine can be dehydrating, but more importantly, it can make you jittery and impair your ability to relax, fixate and be still during surgery.

Can I Drink Alcohol Before LASIK?

There are no restrictions regarding what you can and cannot drink while leading up to your LASIK surgery. However, on the day of the procedure we ask that you refrain from drinking alcohol for a couple of reasons. Like caffeine, alcohol is dehydrating. Especially if you have dry eyes before LASIK then on the day of surgery we’d want to avoid anything that could make your dry eyes worse. Also, prior to your surgery you will be given an oral sedative to help you relax and we wouldn’t want this being mixed with alcohol. Although relaxed, you will still be alert during the procedure and alcohol can make focusing more difficult. Immediately following your surgery you will take an oral pain pill and that, much like the medication given preoperatively to help you relax, shouldn't be taken with alcohol.

Can I Use Eye Drops Before LASIK?

During your initial consultation, one of the factors that we look at when considering if surgery is a safe option is your tear film. Sometimes certain medical conditions or medications can make patients more susceptible to dryness. To improve the quality of your tear film you may be encouraged to use over the counter artificial tears. If you use medicated eye drops, share that with your doctor so that they can better instruct you on whether you will need to stop using them in the days leading up to, or on the day of, your surgery.  If you take allergy eye drops or decongestants, you will want to stop taking those on the day of surgery, but can usually resume using them the next day.

Stop Wearing Contacts Before LASIK

Stop Wearing Contacts Before LASIK

Preparing for LASIK can be particularly challenging for contact lens wearers. You’ll be asked to abstain from wearing contact lenses before a LASIK surgery. How long you’ll need to be out of contacts depends on their material. For soft lenses, you will need to be out of your contacts for 5 to 7 days leading up to your pre-operative exam and surgery. If you wear toric lenses, which correct astigmatism, then you will need to be out of them for 10 to 14 days.  For other types of speciality lenses, you will be instructed at your initial consultation exactly how long you will need to stay out them leading up to surgery. Many people ask, why do you have to stop wearing contacts before LASIK? That’s a fair question! Contact lenses can distort the shape of the front surface of your eye, the cornea, and corneal measurements are crucial in LASIK calculations. Ask how long to stop wearing contacts before LASIK when you’re here for your initial consultation.

Why Do You Have to Stop Wearing Contacts Before LASIK?

Can you wear contacts before LASIK eye surgery? The short answer is no. After your consultation, it’s best that you stay out of lenses leading up to your dilated pre-op exam and surgery. This will allow your cornea to go back to its most natural shape. Contact lenses also harbor bacteria, regardless of how well you care for them. That bacteria could potentially increase the risk of infection, so there’s another reason to stay out of contact lenses before LASIK.

The next question then becomes, can I wear contact lenses after laser eye surgery? In the postoperative period, the answer is generally no. They’re drying and can harbor bacteria that could interfere with healing. Once you’re all healed up, the hope is that you won’t need them.  If you do, you can generally wear them without a problem. You’ll need an updated prescription and fitting, though.

Do You Have to Wear Glasses Before LASIK?

If there are no contacts before LASIK, do you have to wear glasses then? It depends on your prescription and how dependent you are on corrective lenses. If you have a high prescription, not wearing contacts before LASIK consultation can be a challenge. It is important however that you can function safely in the time leading up to your surgery that you aren’t wearing contact lenses. Be sure to get a pair of updated glasses if you need them.

What If I Had the Flu Before LASIK?

What If I Had the Flu Before LASIK?

As long as you’ve fully recovered from the flu, you can usually go ahead with the surgery as planned. Be sure you’re drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to your procedure to help you stay hydrated!

Let Someone Drive You to the Procedure

After surgery, you’ll need a driver. You’ll be groggy from the sedative, and your vision will be blurry.

Don’t Wear Makeup, Perfume or Fragrance

Makeup can interfere with the medications and lasers that are used during surgery, so don’t wear any that day. It’s also important to avoid any scented products, perfume or fragrances on the day of surgery. These products could interfere with the air quality, which is tightly regulated by systems to control temperature, humidity, and purity.

Be Mentally Prepared, Because You Will Be Awake During Surgery

Prior to LASIK, you’re given a sedative medication to take the edge off. However, unlike other surgeries, you will be awake for laser eye surgery. Your attention is required, so be prepared. Some people get nervous about being awake, but it can actually be fascinating to see what’s going on right before your eyes.

Learn About Post-Surgery Care

Read your post-surgical instructions carefully. They were designed to ensure you have a quick and complete recovery.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now feel more comfortable in how to prepare for eye surgery. There really aren’t that many things to do before laser eye surgery. Except eat a little something before showing up. It’s common to wonder, can I eat before LASIK surgery? You can! This is unlike many surgeries where you go under general anesthesia. Having food in your system will also help with the pain medication given immediately after surgery to help minimize discomfort.

If you have any more questions, that’s what your doctor is for! Don’t hesitate to ask. Call our office at (312) 444-1111 today if you have any questions leading up to your LASIK procedure!

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Dr. Colman R. Kraff

Committed to advancing new technologies in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Colman Kraff helped to pioneer laser vision correction. In February of 1991, as part of a five-site, U.S., FDA clinical trial team, Dr. Kraff successfully performed the first excimer laser procedures in the Chicagoland area using the VISX Excimer Laser.

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