Steps involved

At site for eyes, we’re here with you every step of the way

During the consultation you will have a comprehensive ophthalmic examination. You will also be provided with an explanation of your treatment options, their benefits and possible consequences.

The examination includes a refraction to check your current spectacle prescription and vision, together with computerised corneal mapping and full ocular wavefront measurement to determine your ocular status and suitability for refractive surgery. As part of the examination you will receive dilating drops to allow the surgeon to fully examine the health of the eye. These drops will make you light sensitive and may make driving and close work difficult for an hour or two after the examination. You will be able to ask the surgeon any questions you may have.

It is extremely important that contact lenses are left out of the eye for an appropriate length of time before both the consultation and surgery. This is because contact lenses sit on the cornea and may change the contour of the cornea, therefore affecting the accuracy of our measurements. Soft contact lenses must be left out for a minimum of 3 days before the consultation, hard or gas permeable lenses should be left out for a minimum of 3 weeks.

If you are suitable and decide to go ahead with surgery, this will take place in our operating theatres at Sunderland Eye Infirmary.

You should refrain from wearing eye make-up for at least two days prior to surgery, to ensure that no trace remains.

Please do not wear perfume or after-shave on the day of surgery as this can affect the sensitivity of the excimer laser.

Although most of the surgical and laser procedures will take about 10-15 minutes per eye, you can expect to be at the hospital for around 2-3 hours.

Most procedures are performed with local anaesthetic eye drops. This means that you will experience little if any discomfort.

If you are having a LASIK procedure you will need to wait a further 30-40 minutes after surgery, so that the surgeon can be satisfied the flap is in a good position before you return home.

After the surgeon has performed a final check of your eyes, a clear shield or pad may be placed over the operated eye. This will remain on until the next day. Further post-operative instructions are given.

After surgery you must not drive home yourself. If you are not accompanied by a friend or family member a taxi can be called.

Once you are at home we recommend that you rest in bed or in a comfortable chair to allow yourself time to recover from the surgery.

You may experience some gritty discomfort in the operated eye soon after surgery and it may water in response to this. This is a normal response and these symptoms can be relieved by gently closing your eyes. Do not squeeze or rub your eyes.

You may experience a mild headache postoperatively and can take analgesics if required.

Be careful to protect your eyes from soap, shampoo and the flow of water if you are showering or washing.

Your vision may be blurred and the eye may be a little red and light sensitive. Again, this is normal and is nothing to be concerned about.

Each patient is required to see the surgeon the following day after LASIK. After Surface Laser Treatment you are usually seen on the second and fifth post operative day. For Refractive Lens Exchange, you will be seen the following week after surgery. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops will be given to take home and used as instructed.

Your eyes may remain sensitive to light for a few days following surgery. Similarly a gritty irritated feeling may also persist, possibly continuing in one eye longer than the other. As the eye heals, your vision may fluctuate. This can occur over the first 3-4 weeks. You should however always maintain a reasonable level of vision.

To ensure the safety of both yourself and your eyes post-operatively we ask that you to follow these simple guidelines:

  • No swimming for two weeks.
  • No eye makeup for two weeks.
  • Take extra care to avoid getting soap or shampoo in your eye for one week.
  • Do not drive until your vision is adequate both day and night. [this usually takes about two days for LASIK but longer for surface treatments].
  • Do not use any eye drops other than those prescribed by the surgeon.
  • No body contact sport for 4 weeks following surgery.
  • You must not rub the eye vigorously for one month following the procedure.