Let’s say you’ve heard about LASIK surgery and have decided or are in the process of deciding to give it a try. There are still certain things you should know as regards the recovery process after surgery. Besides, you may have a few questions you’d love to ask. This post is just for you – to help teach and show how to have a very comfortable and fuss-free recovery.
We want to take the plunge but before that, let’s clarify the difference between PRK and LASIK surgery for a better understanding.
The Difference Between PRK and LASIK
It is best, to begin with the definition of terms.
LASIK is an acronym for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis surgery, an optical procedure where the surgeon uses a femtosecond laser rather than a scalpel to form a precise flap in the cornea (part of the eye with a dome shape) which is folded back. Another laser is used to change the shape of the middle layer of the cornea to fix any problem with your vision. After doing this, the flap is returned to position, and your cornea begins to recover – typically takes 48 hours.
PRK, on the other hand, stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy. Here, there is no need to make a flap on the cornea. What happens is that the laser is applied on the outside layer of the cornea to fix vision impairment called refractive errors. The absence of a corneal flap means your recovery depends on the ability of the eye to self-heal. Based on this, healing takes more time, and you may feel more pain in the initial recovery process than LASIK eye surgery.
For ease of healing and to lower pain, the surgeon will fit into your eyes temporary bandage contact lenses that will remain in there for a week.
What other difference is there? In a case where your cornea is very thin such that LASIK doesn’t work, then PRK will be recommended for you. Another case where PRK works well is if you engage consistently in a high contact sport.
Now that these terms have been fully explained, let us discuss the tips for a successful recovery after the surgery.
- Seek assistance to make your post-surgery stay at home comfortable- There will be a need to attend the surgery with someone (a friend or family member) who can take you home. This is because you will be unable to drive yourself or use public transport due to hazy vision and sensitivity to light. Upon reaching the house, you will need help with getting things done like cooking a meal, administering your eye drops, and sleeping, so an extra pair of hands will be highly appreciated.
- Put on simple and comfortable clothes for the surgery which you can sleep in right after treatment – Post-surgery, the medications you’ll be given will make you relax, feel sleepy, and your vision will be hazy. This is why changing clothes shouldn’t come in. You can go straight to bed in what you’re wearing already.
- Plan for the meals you’ll have after surgery before it begins – Should you be living alone, you need to consider this point as important. It would be very unsafe and difficult to chop veggies with a hazy vision. So, what do you do? Plan ahead of the surgery. Shop and stock meals that can be easily microwaved, prepare meals ahead, get already made salads, or you can simply pre-order meals and skip cooking (if you can afford it). Paper plates and cups will be very useful so you can evade washing up dishes after LASIK treatment.
- Eat a satisfying meal pre-surgery – PRK and LASIK do not need anesthesia in which case patients are given numbing eye drops and relaxant to reduce anxiety perhaps. So, it would be best if you ate a good meal on D-Day. Another thing is that since you cannot tell how the surgery will make you feel afterward, and you may sleep away for some hours or till the next day to give your eyes rest, you will wake up very hungry if you didn’t have a filling meal to eat before the treatment.
- Keep your eye drops in the refrigerator – The antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops your surgeon will give you after LASIK London should be kept away in a cool environment like your fridge. Since you may have dry eyes during the first few days of recovery, it is recommended that you lubricate your eyes from time to time with preservative-free artificial tears. Besides, the soothing relief of cold eye drops is awesome! Do remember to carry about a few vials in your pocket and store away the rest in a refrigerator.
- Get a cold compress that weighs little for your eyes – Are you going for a PRK? You will need something that is simply cool to relieve the irritation on your forehead and eyes. With this, you can sleep more comfortably and without stress. It is advised that you seek the advice of your surgeon before using a cold compress.
- Take your bath and wash your hair in the early hours of the surgery – Our LASIK patients are advised to avoid wetting their eyes directly for a few days. When you wash your hair, some quantity of water will naturally get into your eyes. This is why we advise against showering for 24 hours and washing the face or hair directly with water for a number of days. A damp cloth can be used to clean your face and corners of your eyes carefully. Should it happen that soap and water get into your eyes accidentally, do not rub your eyes, and rinse them thoroughly with artificial tears to take out any irritation? For a minimum of one-month post-surgery, hot baths and saunas should be avoided
- Avoid screen shows and entertainment – Bright lights and screens will be advised against after surgery for at least a day or two. What will you be doing while recovering? Podcast books or music can help you relax. Consider downloading some.
- Hire help to take care of your pets after surgery – Since your vision may not get so clear immediately after treatment, it is evident you won’t be able to use your eyes so well in the days that follow. Getting someone to walk and feed your pet while you focus on getting better will help a lot. Alternatively, you can ask a family member or friend to house your pet for a number of days while you recover.
- Set up your cell phone beforehand for convenience – Dry eyes and eye strain after surgery can be lowered by increasing the text font on your phone and reducing screen brightness. Doing this before surgery can help you avoid irritation of the eyes. Should you be using an iPhone, Siri can help you on request to read notifications or text your friends to keep your eyes free from stress.
- In addition to any pain relief, get acetaminophen – After LASIK eye surgery, many patients may not need pain medication as there might be no need for it – pain is very minimal. However, should you experience a headache or pain post-surgery, we recommend buying and taking acetaminophen to alleviate the discomfort. Usually, patients that go through PRK do experience some discomfort a few days after treatment. While they may be given medications for pain, any breakthrough pain between medication can be alleviated with acetaminophen. It can also fix moderate pain.
- It is important to rest – Kindly rest your eyes; rushing into daily activities too soon is highly discouraged. It is true you may get so excited about how clearly you can now see and may want to do all you usually do before surgery but bear in mind that you should give your eyes time to recover. If your job is one that involves a lot of screen time, you really should get off that laptop or phone and rest your eyes as doing so boosts the healing process
What we Offer at Optimal Vision
State-of-the-art vision tech is what we employ at our clinic to improve the eyesight of our patients. This proves to be more effective than results obtained when patients wear contact lenses or glasses.
Would you like to know if you qualify to get LASIK in Harley Street London or PRK? Schedule an initial consultation with us to know about that and more on what laser surgery can do to improve your vision.
The safety of our patients is the top priority! Especially now that there is a new strain of covid-19, our safety protocols have been upped to meet and exceed the CDC’s expectations. At all times, we encourage both staff and patient to use face mask around our clinic.